New Year’s Resolutions: Guide to Success
As the new year approaches, the tradition of New Year’s resolutions rises to the top of our minds. We start thinking of all the positive habits we’d like to create and the vices and missteps we’d like to correct. January 1st comes along and we enter the new year with a vim and vigor that we’re able to sustain for a short while but often results in disappointment. Before you make your next resolution, resolve to take an honest look at where you’ve been and where you want to be. Reflection To plan for the future, we first must reflect on the past. What successes are you most proud of? What challenges have been stumbling blocks? What can you continue to do to enjoy your successes and overcome your challenges? Remember, there is a lot of luck involved in both situations—you can only change what you’re in control of. Be honest about your abilities. Refocus Refocusing allows you to envision your life incorporating your new goals and setting priorities. Do you have the time, motivation, and resources to prioritize your goals? If you vow to exercise 10 hours a week, how will you carve out that time between your job, family responsibilities, and other obligations? You have to be honest about your expectations. Having an unrealistic vision of success only breeds disappointment. Goal Clarity What is it you want to achieve and how will those new goals impact other areas of your life? What steps do you need to take? Do you have a plan for setbacks and how to get back on track? Break down your goals into manageable steps. Within these steps there will be more challenging aspects that may slow you down or sidetrack you. What tools will you need to meet those challenges? Is your timeline reasonable? Do you need the support of family, friends, or colleagues to help you achieve your goals? Do you need the support of outside resources? Are you willing to be accountable to those people? Develop A Plan Once you are clear about your goals and how to manage setbacks, you can develop a plan. Give yourself permission from the start to alter your plans without changing your definition of success. Many people feel the resolution list they make on the first of the year is set in stone. It’s not. Few situations are truly life or death, and making any improvements is far better than stagnating year after year. Take action Start today. Start January 1. Start December 28. Just start. The date doesn’t matter, your actions do. Celebrate You will have successes. Acknowledge them. Celebrate them. Those successes are the fuel you’ll need to go the distance. If you fall off track, then start again tomorrow or next week. There is no shame in falling short of your expectations, you’ll feel better continuing forward and tackling those challenges.