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Spring cleaning means dusting off New Year’s resolutions

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in Leaders & Managers

Frustrated because you've fallen back into bad work habits? Unfortunately, too many of us allow our New Year's resolutions to gather dust by May. Are you staying at your desk too late—again? "Springing forward" into daylight saving time means more after-work daylight to enjoy—improving both your mental and physical health.

You can organize your workload so that you can get out in time to enjoy a walk in the spring weather.

Here's a step-by-step plan for turning those resolutions you made in January into new, healthy habits by May:

1. Use upbeat action words. Resolutions that use "stop" or "don't" can leave you feeling uninspired. Try to reframe the goal in terms of what you'd like to do. Example: Your "Stop working late" resolution might become "Put on workout clothes and walk out the door by 5:30." You might take a walk, go to the gym or simply head home before dark. In any case, you create a mental break from your workday (by changing your clothes) and you're out the door.

2. Look back. Instead of thinking, "I'll be happy when...," take stock of what makes you happy right now. Realize that the next achievement or promotion won't significantly change your world.

3. Break down a big goal. Trying to do too much, too fast, is a recipe for failure. Focus on one action that will contribute to your larger goal. Example: Instead of "Be a better listener," vow to "Let others finish talking before chiming in." Instead of "Get organized," pledge to "Start each day with an empty e-mail inbox."

4. Allow for setbacks. You have to permit yourself little slip-ups. Forgive your mistakes and move on. But resolve not to give up on your overall goal. Tomorrow is another day.

5. Put the word out. It's a lot easier to break a resolution that nobody knows about. Talk about your resolutions, and put the list in plain site. Better yet, make a pact with a supportive co-worker to help each other stay on track.

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