“Make New Year’s goals. Dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part. It is an affirmation that you’re interested in fully living life in the year to come.” Melody Beattie
The debate as to whether New Year’s Resolutions are beneficial, useless or even harmful continues. Naysayers, will say resolutions are defeatist. Many if not most of us will fail to follow through with our New Year commitments within the first couple of weeks. They argue that the problem with resolutions is that we believe that if we achieve them we will be happy. As such, we have a tendency toward focusing on the end result as opposed to appreciating the process and as a result, create undue stress. A lot of pressure we don’t need. We set ourselves up for failure and failure in turn can lead to blame and self-criticism. Frequently, the resolutions we make are based on what we think we should be doing, like losing 20 pounds or quitting smoking, rather than on something that we can be passionate or excited about. “Should” goals focus on negative rather than positive aspects of self-improvement. Others wonder why January 1st, when everyday is an opportunity for a new start?
While I agree that everyday is an opportunity for a fresh beginning, the end of a year, and the start of a new year provides a great opportunity to reflect about our successes and failures and contemplate our future dreams and aspirations. I’ve made many resolutions that I haven’t followed through on. I’ve also made resolutions I’ve kept. Much of our success depends on the habits we form in order to propel ourselves forward. Follow these 8 recommendations for creating New Year’s Resolutions you'll keep:
1. Make resolutions for areas of your life that you can be passionate or excited about. Develop resolutions that are based on your values.
2. Create a positive resolution statement. For example rather that I want to lose 20lbs reframe it as I’m going to eat healthier and exercise regularly.
3. Make your goals as specific as possible. Some suggest making SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, reasonable and timely) goals.
4. Don’t just state a goal, create a strategy or system to achieve your goal. For example, if your goal is to eliminate financial debt. Your strategy might include monitoring your spending, creating a budget, making your lunch, having a spending free day each week, paying an extra amount of money each month on your credit card etc.
5. Focus on the process of moving forward rather than the outcome.
6. Take small steps.
7. Avoid blaming or shaming yourself. View mistakes, failures and setbacks as opportunities for learning and growth.
8. Remember, progress not perfection. Keep trying.
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.” Neil Gorman