I’m sure most or at least some of you are sick of the holidays and the holiday posts. I’ve refrained from posting many, or any, but this subject has been haunting me for days.
What is a New Year’s resolution? Well, it’s no more than a promise we make to ourselves for improvement.
But why, oh why, do people make New Year’s resolutions? It’s my opinion that there are two factors here:
#1 – Somehow in the deep bowels of our minds, we see New Year’s as a fresh start, and we want to begin that fresh start on the right path. (That’s the obvious one)
#2 – (And maybe not quite so obvious to everyone) is that leading up to the new year is a stressful time, when all schedules are thrown to hell and our worlds are chaotic. That’s right, The Holidays! They can wreak havoc on our good habits and switch our goals from inside to out. What can start as simply, “I don’t have time for this right now, I’ll deal with it after the holidays,” can turn into a form of beating yourself over the head with a frying pan for not getting any of your usual business attended to. (Exercise, eating well, working, cleaning, staying in touch with friends, volunteering your time, ad nauseum.) In effect, all of these little slips can easily snowball into a New Year’s Resolution.
I’ve looked up quite a few stats on New Year’s Resolutions, and I’ve got to say, it’s not pretty folks. The numbers appear to be stacked against all resolutioners. But let’s ignore the half-empty glass for now and focus on how to do it right. I’ll admit I’m no expert on getting my goals accomplished, but a sneak peek at what it feels like, visited me with my accomplishment of NaNoWriMo this year. And it feels GOOD.
So how is it done? Let’s look at what the experts say:
#1 – Write a list of what you want to achieve. Sounds easy right? Think again… this takes time. And if you have any bit of philosopher inside you like I do, the question can be more intimidating than a grimacing twelve-foot giant with small-man syndrome.
#2 – Ok so let’s assume you’ve got your goals all written down. Some may be simple, some a little more complex. Now it’s time to use that other side of your brain and figure out how to achieve those goals realistically. Be Specific! Saying: “I’m going to eat better,” is not specific. Learning how to eat better, then applying those goals, that’s specific. REMEMBER: A resolution is not a wish, you can’t resolve to lose 20 pounds in a week and think that by making it a resolution it will automatically happen. Re-look at that list, make sure it’s realistic and alter what is not. Then research where necessary to find out HOW to reach those goals – then, you guessed it, more lists.
#3 - So now we’ve got the basic list of what we want to achieve, and with a bit of work and some research, we have a realistic list of ways to get what we want. Now get even more specific. Timeline it. Realistically. If you did your research in step two, you already have an idea of when and where and what you can do to achieve your goals. So now is the time to timeline it. Here’s an example:
Step #1 - Resolution: I want to read a book a month for the year of 2012.
Step#2 – Research: I want to read these specific books. I can afford them or I can make it to the library to get them. There are 500 pages in the first book, that’s between 16 and 17 pages a day.
Step#3 – I must read 16 to 17 pages a day, that’ll take me 25 minutes a day. I can sneak that in on my lunch hour with time to spare, or, if I get too busy at lunch, I can read for 25 minutes after dinner before doing the dishes. (You get the idea). (Write it down, that’s right, list it.) Now add: I will go to the bookstore/Library on December 29th between 1pm and 2pm to get the first book. I will go the bookstore/Library on January 30th to get the second book. (I know it sounds redundant and like unnecessary listing, but do it anyway.)
Step#4 – Reward yourself. If you’ve done the above, you now have a journal of sorts, whether you planned to or not. Write in a reward system for a goal you’ve achieved, heck reward yourself for getting through the list!
Here are some FREE online tools you can use:
Good luck and Happy New Year!