How are you doing on your new year’s resolutions? Chances are, you never made them, have forgotten about them already, or tried and given up. The reason our resolutions, and most other goals fail is because they’re lofty and generic, and we lack an actual strategy to help achieve them. But the practice of creating goals to improve ourselves is important, whether it’s at the new year or any other time.
So if you’re one to create and fail at goals, it’s ok. This post will help you narrow down some of your goals so they can be intentional and specific. I’ll also cover some tips on how to create a realistic strategy to achieve your goals for this year.
Areas to Focus Your New Year’s Resolutions In
When creating new year’s resolutions, they’re often a stab in the dark. You come up with generic cliche goals, like getting into shape or making more money. Or you think of things you don’t like and try to stop them, such as quitting smoking.
What if you thought in terms of the person you wanted to become and the legacy you want to leave? That may sound big and grand, but it’s gradually created year by year. To help you think more intentionally and create new year’s resolutions that actually make you into a better person, here are some areas of your life you can focus on.
1. Explore Your Interests
What’s that one thing you’ve always wanted to be able to do well? What’s something that you want to be more knowledgeable in? What things do you love doing?
In this area, focus on a skill or knowledge that will add to your traits as a person. It could be learning a musical instrument, playing a sport, reading books, learning a new language, becoming an expert in a topic, building or producing something, or just doing more of what you love. What would you like people to say you’re really good at or know a lot about?
2. Foster Your Relationships
How are your relationships doing? Are there any tensions with family or friends? Do you interact well with your coworkers?
Think of relationships that could improve, whether it’s with a significant other, family members, friends, or just people you interact with on a daily basis. Do those relationships need to be mended? Do they need to grow deeper? Or maybe you just need more relationships in your life. Also ask this – in each relationship, are giving more or taking more?
3. Improve Your Health
How are your eating habits? Are you exercising and staying active? Are there any bad habits that impact your health negatively?
Health isn’t solely about dieting and working out, it encompasses your entire being. How much sleep you get at night, the environment at your work, your stress and anxiety levels, your emotional balance – those are all aspects of your health. What would help you function at a more healthy level to enjoy life and do other things better?
4. Manage Your Resources
Do you have debt that you need to get out of? Are you spending your money in the best ways? Are you always busy, or do you waste a lot of time? Do you have collect an excessive amount of things that you don’t use or need?
Resources can be your money, your material possessions, your time, your energy, or your skills. Mismanaging your resources could mean not having enough because you’re overspending them, having too much because you’re hoarding them, or just not being as effective with them. With what you have, do you need to save more, spend more, or give more away?
5. Expand Your Impact
Do you feel a sense of purpose in your career? Do you love what you’re doing or do you dread every morning? Are you satisfied with what you’ve accomplished in life?
Everything that you do, from work to leisure, from errands to volunteering, are contributing to who you are as a person and the people around you. Are you making your world or sphere of influence a better place? How can you bring meaning to your work or find something that you enjoy doing? Is there a place you can volunteer and give back to your community? What mark will you leave behind when you’re gone?
How to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions
A lot of us don’t make new year’s resolutions because we’ve given up on them. We think of these grand goals for the end of the year, but barely make it through January because it’s too tough or we never thought of a strategy.
Though the concept of new year’s resolutions may not be your thing, the practice of setting goals to improve ourselves and the people around us is a good and important thing, no matter how long the time frame may be. So whether you have a small goal for the next month or a large goal for the next year, here are some tips help you succeed.
1. Let Other People Know About It
Tell somewhat what your goal is. It can be one person or a group of people. It’s a scary thing, but it’s an important step. It creates accountability. If no one knows about your goals, it’s much easier to give up on them because they were just ideas in you mind. Putting it out in public makes it more real. People can call you out on it. There’s the possibility of failure.
But people will also remind you, help you, and encourage you along the way. Start with this – write an email to 5-10 of your closest friends letting them know your goals (have it in written form so it can be referenced). Tell them you’ll follow up with a strategy. Ask for help or advice – you’ll be surprised by the response you get.
2. Set Concrete and Realistic Goals
New year’s resolutions often fail because we our goals are so generic and lofty. We say, “get in shape” or “be a nicer person,” but what does that actually mean? What do you want yourself, your life, or the people around you to look like? What are the tangible things people will see to be proof of that goal?
Some things are easier than others. You can set an amount of weight to lose or an amount of debt to eliminate. But if you want to have a better relationship with your spouse, what does that look like? Try to quantify your goals into actions, such as having X number of date nights, X number of one-on-one conversations, reduce to X number of fights, etc…
Then set a few milestone markers that are reachable. If you have a year long goal, where should you be in a month? In 3 months? In 6 months? In 9 months? Milestones take the looming impossibility of a huge goal way in the future and breaks it down into smaller, easier, immediate goals.
3. Develop a Doable Strategy
The hardest part now is figuring out how you’ll get there. Depending on what your goal is, you may need outside help or expertise. But in general, avoid failure by avoiding huge dramatic changes. If you’re goal is to run a marathon and you never exercise, don’t start by vowing to run a mile everyday. It’s just too much, too soon.
Try small, easy goals. Like for the first month, just take a walk around the block once or twice a week. Simple, easy, doable. No where near a marathon, but it’s movement. It’s something more than you were doing before. Then start gradually increasing the frequency, the length, and the speed.
4. Take That First Step
Taking the first step towards your goal is the hardest part. That’s why you need to start small. What’s one easy action you can take this week that moves you closer to your goal. It doesn’t matter how small it is, because anything is an improvement over nothing. Significant changes in our life occur over small things done consistently.
After hearing these ideas, what will your new year’s resolutions be, or how have they been modified? What’s your strategy for getting there? Share with me in the comments, I’d love to hear about it!