On January 1st of each year, people everywhere make resolutions to better themselves and the world around them.
However, it can be difficult to hold to these resolutions as life gets busier throughout the year. Life has a way of distracting people from what they set out to do the next year.
There are ways to make sure these resolutions are kept and that the year is successful.
1. Make your resolutions quantitative. Having vague goals such as “I will save money” or “I will lose weight” are rarely, if ever, successful. Instead of setting these kinds of goals, add a number to your goals.
For example, instead of setting a goal of losing weight, make a goal of losing 10 pounds.
Adding a quantity to your goals will allow you to track them easier and allow you to set up a more straightforward plan to ensure success.
2. Set smaller goals to work towards your resolution. It is good to have big dreams and big plans for the year ahead. These big goals can seem overwhelming when life gets difficult and busy. Setting smaller goals can alleviate the stress of the bigger goals.
For example, if you set a goal of saving $1,200 this year, make a point to put $100 a month or $25 a week into a separate bank account to save for a later date.
Setting smaller goals based on a weekly or monthly goal can make the resolution easier to achieve and allows you to make a plan for accomplishing what you want.
3. Make fewer resolutions/goals. Having a list of 20 things you want to accomplish may seem great on the first day of the year, but this will eventually become overwhelming when life starts to get in the way. Things will come up that will deter your goals and make it difficult to accomplish the vast amount of goals you set.
Having a list of five to ten goals is ideal. There are enough goals to make an impact in your life, but not so many that you are overwhelmed and distracted from accomplishing your resolutions.
Also, condense your goals. If you want to raise your GPA and be inducted into your school’s honor society, make your resolution to get into the honor society, and make raising your GPA a step to achieve this resolution.
4. Have someone hold you accountable. Telling someone about the goals you want to accomplish will inspire you to keep your word. The person can check in on you every few weeks to see how you are progressing. The person may be able to help you and encourage you when things get tough. Also, the person may know someone who may be able to give you guidance when you do not know how to achieve your goals.
It may also be beneficial to find someone who has a similar goal and work towards it together. For example, many people who are trying to lose weight , find someone to work out with or have dinner with so that you can hold each other accountable.
Having someone who wants to achieve the same goals as you will encourage you to work hard. Have a competition to see who can accomplish the goal first!
5. Set time aside each week to evaluate your progress. Many people lose focus of their resolution come February. They become discouraged that their goals are not just magically happening and they cannot see their progress clearly. It is important to set time aside to evaluate where you are in terms of accomplishing your goals. Seeing how you have made progress will encourage you to keep going!
For example, if your goal is to lose 25 pounds, weigh yourself each week. If you are not seeing a decrease in weight, make changes to your lifestyle to make progress, such as eating healthier and exercising more.
6. Only set goals that are meaningful to you and that you are willing to work towards. It is important that you actually care about the resolutions you make. Doing so will ensure that you will make an effort to achieve your goals. It will also give you motivation to work at them and seek to accomplish them.
For example, setting a goal of raising a certain amount of money for a cancer foundation when your passion lies in the environment simply doesn’t make sense. Do not resolve to get a job at a doctor’s office if being a teacher is more meaningful to you. Tailor your goals to your passions and you will likely achieve them more easily.
7. Work towards achieving your goals every day. Taking steps every day will help you achieve your goals. Doing a little bit each day and accomplishing your goals is better than waiting until December and cramming to get your resolutions done. This will help you avoid burnout later in the year.
Working towards your goals each day also allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment on a daily basis. This will help you be motivated to keep working at your goals.
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Sorry for this, but as we approach the new year, this weighs heavy on my mind, and in some strange, unexplainable way, writing it out helps to ease my troubled mind.
In the forty-five years I’ve roamed this rock we call Earth, I’ve never made a New Years resolution, at least not one that amounted to much. I guess I know myself well enough to realize that I’ll never see lofty goals through to fruition. I like to think of myself as the one who always lives up to my own low expectations, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Don’t set the bar too high, and you’ll never have to worry about whether or not you can clear it.
All joking aside, 2016 has been about the worst year of my life. In May, my wife of 22 years was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer which has also spread to her liver. Just this past week, after 12 grueling rounds of chemotherapy, our oncologist informed us the tumors on her liver are inoperable and the effectiveness of standard chemo has plateaued. We still have a couple of options available that give us hope for a favorable outcome and have given our full trust to the doctors, and our undying faith to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
That being said, 2017 will be a year we will all have to remain incredibly strong. It will also be a year for life altering, monumental decisions, some of which have already been set into motion. First of all, my family has made the incredibly difficult decision to close our retail business indefinitely. Instead we’ll shift our focus to wholesale, a segment that has shown steady growth over the past several years. We hope the extra time can help us concentrate on her treatment and be there for her on the front lines as she battles an invisible enemy from within. Hopefully, as we traverse the upcoming year, we can spend some time reconnecting as a family, something so many of us neglect in the chaos of everyday life.
As far as writing goes, well, who knows? I hope I can still keep hammering some things out and plan to keep refining my novel as time permits. Throughout this entire ordeal, I’ve found writing a fantastic form of therapy, a wonderful aid in helping me sort out my feelings and fears.
Regarding resolutions? One word sums it up: Hope. I hope we reach the end of 2017 complete, together, and unbroken. Somewhere along the way I hope we find something positive to cleave to under the storm clouds looming above, and most importantly, wherever this journey leads us, I hope we all reach our destination as better versions of ourselves.