Happy New Year !
For many people it is the major “goal setting” time of the year – often called making resolutions.
People often see resolutions as different than goal setting, but I think they are the same in many ways.
Making New Year’s resolutions can be fun or it can be disastrous. Many people become disheartened, discouraged, and even distraught after making and then breaking their New Year’s resolutions.
Here is how to avoid the downside of making resolutions.
- Make achievable goals. Don’t simply say, “I will stop smoking on January 1st,” or “I am going to drop twenty pounds,” or “I am going to get straight A’s by the end of the semester.” Think about the steps you can take to get there, and make these separate, achievable resolutions. There is no sense in setting yourself up for a fall. Also, with a step-by-step plan, you have done the “legwork” necessary to get to the end. You know what you need to do.
- Write down your resolutions. Keep the list somewhere that you can access it frequently and check off the steps you made (note above). Writing things down seems to make them more tangible – more real. Also, the act of writing out your goals allows you a chance to “think” about how you will make it happen. It is easy for anyone to simply say or imagine becoming the next major movie star or adventurous astronaut, etc. These are dreams until the plan is put into action. Make it real!
- Jot down the positive aspects that you will receive when you reach your goal. You need some motivators to keep you going. For example, when you are not smoking – or even reducing those cigarettes, you won’t cough as much, you will have more energy and time to commit to more positive activities, etc. When you lose the weight, you will fit into the clothes you’ve wanted to buy (or retrieve from the back of the closet), and you will feel more healthy and alive. Improved grades can get you into the advanced class, or into the college of your choice, and/or into the career you really want.
- Don’t let “slip ups” ruin your resolutions. Whenever you try something new, you are bound to have a few bumps in the road. If that next test comes back with a C- on it, don’t despair, but do take steps to rectify the situation. If you take a puff from another cigarette, or maybe a few at a party, don’t give up for another whole year! Get back on track and begin “working” your plan again. (If you don’t have a plan, please refer back to step 1.) Recall how good it felt to make that resolution in the first place. You can have that feeling again. Pull out your list, see where you might have stumbled, and refresh your memory about the positive aspects you will get once you reach the ultimate goal. You will become re-energized to start again.
- Be positive. Don’t keep thinking of the ways you will fail to achieve your resolutions. Stay positive, think positively, and act in a positive direction. Always focus on moving forward and taking the necessary steps. If you need to revamp your plan – that’s fine. Put in a few extra steps that will help you make those New Year’s goals a reality!
Of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention the obvious way to avoid the downside of making New Year’s resolutions – don’t make them. You don’t HAVE to make resolutions. It isn’t a law or rule. For some people, it would be best not to make them. You decide what works best for you. Just remember, that the points mentioned above also apply to goal setting which I think most people should do at various times throughout the year.
So – Have a Happy New Year and if you decide to make New Year’s Resolutions, do so in a responsible way. 🙂
Have a safe holiday – enjoy yourself – and look forward to all of 2018.
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