Ah, Christmas! The most wonderful time of the year! The shining lights, the traditional food, the joyful carols…
I’m sorry, but I’m not having any of it. When it comes to the holiday season, I can be quite Grinchy. I understand why people like it all so much, but it’s just not for me.
What I do love are the New Year celebrations. December 31st is one of my favorite days in the year! I love making plans for the next year. I start daydreaming about it as soon as the end of October. I love the feeling a fresh start gives you, that “everything’s possible” energy.
If you are anything like me, I bet your mind is boiling with New Year’s resolutions ideas. That whole “new year, new me” thing, right? That’s the spirit!
The bad news though is that according to Forbes magazine, only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals. By February, most people have already given up on all their plans and have gone back to the same old habits.
But if you’re a New Year lover, that shouldn’t discourage you! You can avoid the statistics. How? Well, the first step is to understand why people fail their resolutions, so you don’t make the same mistakes.
So, why do they fail? The answer is quite simple: they make bad resolutions to start with. Most people make their resolutions wishes, not proper goals. But a wish without a plan is only that: a wish. It hardly ever comes true.
If you want your resolutions to be a reality in 2019, you should think of them as GOALS. They are your milestones for the next year.
But having a goal is not enough to guarantee that you’re going to reach it. It has to be a good goal as well.
While I was studying the Inbound Marketing Methodology (one of the resolutions that I did keep in 2017, yay!), I learned a method for goal setting that changed my life. It’s all about creating SMART goals. Goals that are…
See what I did there?
But how does that work when we’re setting New Year’s resolutions? Well, let’s see some examples.
A good resolution should be SPECIFIC
That means you need to know exactly what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. For example, suppose you want to get better grades in 2019. Instead of saying “I will be a better student next year”, which is a vague affirmation, you could try saying:
I’m going to do reviews every Friday night and take notes of questions to ask the teachers the following week.
Thus, you have specified what you’re going to do to be a better student (do frequent review sessions) and how you’re going to do it (taking notes and seeking help from teachers). You no longer have a simple wish of getting better grades. You have a plan to make it happen.
Your resolution should also be MEASURABLE
How are you going to know that you have achieved your goal, or that you are making progress towards it?
If you want to have some extra money to treat yourself next year, instead of simply saying, “I will save more money next year,” try something like:
By July, I’m going to have saved at least U$200 to treat myself to a shopping day.
See? Now that you have specified an amount of money you want to save, it’s way easier to measure your progress towards that goal. You may even create a tracker sheet to keep yourself accountable! That’s how you will know how that resolution is going.
Make sure your resolutions are ACHIEVABLE
A good goal should be attainable to begin with. There’s no point in making a resolution that is impossible to reach. I know ‘tis the season to be dreamy and all that, but if we’re going to achieve anything, we need to keep our feet on the ground as well.
A good New Year’s resolution should be realistic. So instead of saying, “I’m going to do a complete renovation of my house in 2019,” try:
I’m going to buy some new furniture and decoration for my bedroom.
I mean, unless you’re rich or have been saving for a while, it’s unlikely that you will have the money to completely rebuild your home next year. But changing some little things in your favorite room should be a good start. Perhaps you could find opportunities to save while doing that, and could even start doing another room! There’s no rule that says you cannot exceed a New Year’s resolution.
Most importantly, your resolutions should be RELEVANT to you and your life
The whole point of making resolutions is to try to have a better life. Your goals should make you happier, healthier, or more successful.
For example, there is a strong “go vegan/vegetarian” movement going around lately. But there’s no point in trying to cut meat if you don’t want to, and don’t need to do it for health reasons. Don’t let peer pressure push you into doing anything.
So, if you want to eat healthier, like most people wanted in 2018, a better resolution could be:
I’m going to create a habit of only eating fast food on weekends next year.
Or not. Perhaps you already don’t eat a whole lot of fast food. Perhaps it’s the sweets that are your weak spot. Maybe you should try eating chocolate only on weekends, then?
Before setting your goals, look at yourself and your life and think about what you could change to make yourself happier. That’s what you should try to achieve in 2019.
Finally, make sure your resolutions are TIME BOUND
The problem with many New Year’s resolutions is that they sound like they are infinite. They do not have a schedule or a timer included, so technically, you could do them whenever you want. That’s like begging for an excuse to procrastinate on them.
So, let’s say you want to practice some exercise in 2019. Instead of saying only “I’m going to do more exercise next year”, you should try something like:
I’m going to go to the gym every Tuesday and Thursday night next year.
Thus, you have specified what kind of exercise you are going to do, how often you are going to do it, and exactly when you are going to do it. Making your goals time-related helps you hold yourself accountable.
Bonus tip: Find ways to hold yourself accountable for your resolutions
We already have so much to do in our lives that’s easy to lose track of our personal goals. I mean, how could you remember to drink six glasses of water every day, when your boss is demanding you finish that report at the same time that your 2-year-old is crying in the other room, and your teenager is complaining that she needs a drive to the mall?
That’s why you need a plan to remind yourself of your goals and keep yourself accountable to them.
Here are some things you could try:
-Get a planner or a bullet journal to keep track of everything;
-Ask a friend to help keep yourself accountable by checking on you every so often and asking how your resolutions are going;
Whatever you do, make sure you don’t forget about your dreams in the middle of the daily life’s rush.
Ok, now it’s up to you. What do you want to achieve in the following year? Get inspired and start dreaming! 2019 is yours for the taking!