New Years Resolutions

New Years is a good time to set goals — it's a tradition and everyone is talking about it. This is also a good time to reconnect with what is important since you are often spending time with family and friends. There are generally plenty of opportunities to connect with what makes you happy, or, for those who don't like the holidays, it is a good time to think about ways to improve your life. Furthermore, if you get time off from work at this time of year, you can use this time to think about your goals.

New Years is the most common time of year to make plans for the future. However, for many that make New Years resolutions, there are countless people who seem to forget about their resolutions by February. Why is this and what can be done to help make resolutions into reality?

New Years Resolutions

A resolution implies that a change will occur through the sheer act of will. To say 'I resolve to stop smoking' implies that, from this day forward, you will magically stop smoking. Of course this generally doesn't work because one's resolve to follow through weakens fairly fast — often by February.

When people make New Years resolutions they often make the following mistakes:

  • They talk about them but don't write them down which leads to forgetting
  • They state them in the negative (e.g. I will stop smoking), instead of the positive (e.g. I will have clean healthy lungs)
  • They make them too general (I want to lose weight) instead of specific (I will lose 15 pounds by summer)

In addition to the above mistakes, people often fail to create a plan and follow through. In order to address these issues people should really make New Years goals.

New Years Goals

In order to make a New Years resolution work you need to follow the procedure described in the Goal Setting section. By following the instructions in the goal setting section you will overcome the issues described above. The goal setting procedure will also help you create a plan with enough detail to create the needed structure in your schedule. For example, if your goal is to get in shape and you go so far as to buy a gym membership, be sure to alter your schedule so you have the time to go to the gym regularly.

It can be useful to choose a theme for the year. You can pick a main goal and other goals that support you main goal. For example if your goal is to improve your health your other goals can support this such as join a gym, reduce passive time such as watching TV and increase activity such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. If you plan on moving in the next year, consider moving somewhere close to exercise facilities such as a gym, a building with an exercise room, or close to a park where you can walk or jog.

One final note, when choosing goals for the year don't overload yourself. You can accomplish a lot in a year but if you set your sights too high you can get discouraged and not complete any of them. A good target to aim for is about four to seven goals, depending on the size and complexity of each goal.