It’s that time of year again, the time when many of us, with the best of intentions, draw up our list of New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, research has shown that the steadfast resolve we begin the year with seldom lasts more than a month or two, if not just a few days.

If you are a traveling healthcare professional, you also may be considering some resolutions. They may include professional development, volunteering more, losing weight, or networking more. Once you’ve decided on a resolution, you may be thinking, “Now what?” What exactly should you be doing to move toward that goal you have made? What should you be doing to increase your chances that you will achieve that New Year’s goal?

Here are few suggestions for getting where you want to go from Heidi Grant Halvorson, a motivational psychologist.

First, be as precise as possible. When you set a goal to lose weight, for example, you need to specify the exact number of pounds, not just simply set as your goal to “lose weight.”

Do it now. Take advantage of an opportunity to make steps toward your goal. When you have the time, make the effort to move toward your goal. Go to the gym, if getting in shape is your goal. But to do this, you need to decide beforehand exactly when and where you are going to take the step toward your goal. Monday and 2 o’clock, for example.

Keep tabs on your progress. How much have you accomplished so far, and how much further do you have left to go? If you don’t know how your progress is going, you can’t make adjustments if you need to.

Be prepared to work. When you start out, be confident about achieving your goal, but realize that it is going to take hard work and prepare yourself for it.

Think about getting better. You need to focus on taking small steps at improvement, because improvement will come. You can improve: Abilities can be acquired with practice.  You can change.

Be tough. You need to keep at it even when you encounter obstacles. You need to make a commitment to your long-term goals and stick with it. Not sure you have the toughness?  Again, persistence, planning and effort will go a long way to help you develop that toughness.

Build willpower by doing something every day that you would rather not do. Like anything else, you can build willpower through practice. Start with something small, and plan how you will tackle the difficulties when they occur. It will be hard at first, but as you work at it, it will become easier.

By the same token, don’t take on more than you can handle. Don’t try and do too much at once.

Focus on what you will do, not what you won’t do. You’re not going to break a bad habit by just stopping it. It will be much easier to break by replacing it with a good habit instead. So focus on what you are going to do to establish that good habit.

If one of your resolutions or goals in 2013 is to explore the wonderful world of the traveling OT, PT, RN, speech therapist, pharmacist or allied health professional, contact a recruiter at MedPro Healthcare Staffing. We look forward to discussing the many travel opportunities we have available.