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How do you keep your resolutions?

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With the New Year inevitably comes a plethora of resolutions adopted by hopefuls across the world. But what can make the difference between accomplishing your resolution and leaving it by the wayside?

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Advice for resolution success depends largely on the resolution itself — though whether you choose to lose 10 pound or save $10 a month, advice is sometimes more universal.

Chloe Foster of Nisswa and Fallon Froemming of Jenkins want to learn to play instruments.

“I want to learn how to play the saxophone and I guess it would get me motivated to do it. I already play the flute and my boyfriend and his brother play the saxophone,” Foster said.

Froemming would like to learn to play the harmonica “to be like Bob Dylan.”

“I would say one really good trick is to invest in your practice and maybe invest some money in a teacher or some lessons,” advised Pequot Lakes Band Director Mike Sommerness. “I think sometimes when people have some monetary investment that way and someone who has expectations of them, that will help them continue to practice and probably get better faster as well.”

Sommerness recommended speaking to local musicians or band directors to find a teacher. Sommerness said scheduling a regular time for practice and designating a place in your home for practice can also make the difference between learning to play and throwing in the towel. These practices can help you to avoid upsetting people who share a living space with you.

These suggestions are also relevant to other resolutions.

Susan Swanson of Crosslake is having surgery.

“I’m not going to let anything get me down afterwards,” Swanson said.

David Roberts, a physical therapist at Pequot Lakes Physical Therapy Services, also recommends a regular schedule for people recovering from surgery.

“Having a scheduled time to do your therapy during the day so you get to it at least a couple times a day is probably a good idea, otherwise it is easy to let it go if something more important comes up,” Roberts said. “I think keeping track of your own progress is encouraging, too, because it’s a little overwhelming at first with the discomfort and stiffness and swelling and things. If you keep a diary for yourself and say, ‘It’s a little bit rotten today but tomorrow it’s going to be better.’”

This advice can be key to recovering physically and keeping a good attitude.

Roberts also recommends identifying your starting points and setting small goals along the way so you know where you started, and you can recognize your successes and track your progress.

“Keeping track of little improvements, for example: Can you dress more easily? Can you comb your hair? Can you stand up from a chair a little better? Looking at those little things can help people with their attitudes and show that they are improving,” Roberts said.

This advice can be applied to other goals. Having a big goal is great, but bigger goals take longer before you reap the rewards. Having mini goals along the way can help you with confidence.

Feeling rewarded and confident about yourself can be the key to saving money.

“I would like to be more mindful with finances,” said Becky Gordon of Pine River.

Financial adviser Michael Clayton of Pine River suggests scheduling regular deposits in investments or savings accounts in order to “pay yourself first” before you pay your bills, which will make it easier to save. It’s rewarding, and you might not even notice you are doing it.

“I have a lot of clients that every month they put $25 into investments like mutual funds; automatically every month it comes out of their checking account and they don’t even notice it because it’s only $25,” Clayton said. “I have one particular client that’s been doing it for 15 years. At $25 over 15 years he has almost $25,000 in that savings account now, and $25 a month nobody really misses.”

These are all different resolutions, but they have similar solutions. Keep a regular schedule, find someone who can guide you and keep you motivated, invest in your resolution, recognize and celebrate little accomplishments, keep positive and pay yourself first. These pieces of advice can help you with virtually any resolution you set, but there is one more piece of advice.

When Kathleen Stephan set her resolution for the year, she said, “To live with purpose and to try to keep the ‘later’ drawer empty.”

For this resolution, the only advice is to just do it and don’t let any excuses get in your way. This is ultimately the key to any resolution.

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