Everyone likes the idea of making resolutions and meeting new goals, whether it be weight loss, saving money, or calling grandma more often. The thought of it is always nice, but half-way through the year we are often disappointed with our progress, or our resolutions barely cross our minds. Just like every year, we wonder how we can better keep our resolutions and actually meet our goals in the coming year. Some may even wonder what the point to making a resolution is, if they haven’t succeeded with them in the past. Even accomplishing a small goal this next year can boost confidence and motivation in order to reach bigger goals. I have taken some great advice I have heard from Dr. Henry Cloud, while also adding in my own perspective for how to have a healthy and happy new year.
The S.M.A.R.T. acronym is always a good system to go by when setting goals. Your 2013 resolution needs to be Specific. Its difficult to determine when you've reached a goal if its not specific. So, instead of just “lose weight”, how much weight will you lose? All goals also need to be Measurable. Being able to measure your progress can build motivation. Next, the resolution needs to be Attainable. Make sure you have the time, tools, and ability to reach the goal. Maybe you’d like to save $5,000 this next year, but see what works with your budget before throwing out a number. On that same note, check to be sure your goals are Realistic with your current situation and resources. Don’t resolve that you’ll finally take that back-packing trip across Europe if your savings is drained and you have very little vacation time built up at work. Lastly, make your resolution Timely. For New Year’s resolutions this one is easy – your goal time frame is simply within the next year.
Check out this site for making S.M.A.R.T.(E.R.) goals!
If you’re a “beginner” at setting and accomplishing New Year’s resolutions, start small. If you haven’t had much success in the past, identify which area of your life needs the biggest boost and make one goal in that area rather than overwhelming yourself with trying to lose 20 pounds, save $500 a month, giving up fried food, finishing your online degree, and getting your six-pack back.
Lastly, there are two important things to ask yourself – where is your motivation going to come from and how are you going to reach these goals? Do you have a family member, friend, or group to keep you accountable to accomplishing your resolution? If your goal is to run a half-marathon this next year, try joining a runner’s club for that peer support. Then, what is you plan on how to reach the goal? If you want to get in shape - will you run the local trail 3 times a week or join the gym and go 4 days a week for 30 minutes? Set your plan, make sure it works with your schedule, and get started on it within the first week of the New Year. If you’re well into your plan of action within the first couple months and have the motivation to keep going, there is no doubt you’ll accomplish your 2013 resolution.