Perhaps it is like life on a smaller scale that you measure it in the moments your breath was taken away rather than the breaths you have taken. By the memories you made rather than the memories you planned for. By the unexpected smiles, changes and hurdles that were thrown over the past 12 months. But also by the completion of goals that were strived for, the dedicated time and work that was put into working towards a specific objective, the new part of who you have become as well as the part of you that you may have lost. And of course by the loved ones around you—the mountains you have climbed, the tears of joy and sorrow you have experienced and the new row of the tight knit relationship you have sewn.
So where does that leave us? 365 days less of life to live or 365 days added to our novel? It is all a page in the journey called life through learning, growing, and loving all that is bestowed upon us.
Before we dive head first into the goals and ambitions for the upcoming year, it is also important to reflect on the past year—the lessons we’ve learned, the changes we’ve made, the laughs we’ve had, and appreciation for all we have experienced as well as another year on this wonderful wild earth.
As this year comes to a close we are given a fresh start, a clean slate and a new stab at the year. It is a time of rejuvenation, mediation, and even hibernation as the holidays come to an end. But where do we start? How do we choose a focus for the year? Yes, of course there are the standards and favorites such as losing weight, quitting smoking, and spending more time with family. But without a plan that is nothing but a dream or aspiration. We first need to decide the purpose of these resolutions. Does it feed your mind, body or soul? Are you doing it because you truly want to, because it is a fad, or because you think it’s the right thing to do?
It may be helpful to bucket your life and ambitions into different areas such as learning something new (mind), a new fitness and nutrition plan (body), reading more scripture or meditating (soul) to make sure that you don’t get off balance and focused too much on one area of life. It is about becoming an overall healthier and happier you. What do you have that you don’t want and want what you don’t have? Try filling in the below chart to start your resolution list.
That is what a new year’s resolution is about. It is about taking the next step towards a better and happier you. As some that follow psychology may put it, it is taking the next step up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to become a level closer to self-actualization. A new year’s resolution is not about a new fad, a
Now, how do you go about creating an attainable new year’s resolution? While I am the farthest thing from the master of them, I think these few tips can help make this year a more achievable and realistic year for your goals.
Write them down!
- Doesn’t this seem to be the trick to everything? Whether it be losing weight, reminding yourself, to-do lists or going shopping, writing it down solidifies and makes the virtual reality. Lists are all the rage from buzzfeed posts to ‘5 things’ articles on front covers of magazines. My as well jump on the bandwagon. Making it publicly available is also an option but is definitely not necessary as it may be a personal resolution kept you yourself.
Create S.M.A.R.T. Goals
- One of the most effective motivation and performance goal setting tactics is to make sure you are creating S.M.A.R.T. goals. The chart below lists each letter out but the basic gist is that each resolution and all goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound to help them be more attainable
Review your goals periodically
- If ever there is a way to stress yourself out, it’s by procrastinating 365 days of resolutions into one month. We have all been there before. It does nothing but create a feeling of disappointment, stress and low expectations for future goals. So review periodically. Perhaps set an appointment on your calendar to check in once a quarter, or—if you are feeling super ambitious—maybe once a month. This way you will make sure that you are on track and if you have your goals separated into simple steps you can see the progress and what finish line you are headed towards.
Reward yourself when you reach your goals
- This is so important!! Rewards are crucial to motivation and acceptance. It helps give us a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment which then fuels us to keep going. This does not mean binge on eating a huge chocolate cake, a whopper, milkshake and fries after losing 5lbs, but it is ok to have a piece of cake at a baby step of a goal.
So let’s make 2014 a big year. Dream big, hold yourself accountable, make S.M.A.R.T. goals, and remember that you are only human living in a crazy, unpredictable, unstable world. Things may happen and bump us slightly off track, but if we decide to stand still, find the negative and let life come as it may, be aware that you are just existing and not living. And in the same sense but different note, if you focus only making a living through long, stressful hours of work be aware that you have become so busy making a living that you have forgotten to make a life. For it is not the destination which will bring us satisfaction, but rather the journey will bring lessons and joy for the utmost success in life.
Here are 25 suggestions if you are drawing a blank:
- Listen more
- Learn something new
- Pick up a new hobby
- Embark on a spiritual journey
- Learn how the body’s muscles work for better more effective workouts
- Find a charity to volunteer at that you are passionate about
- Make 1 new friend
- Let go of the past
- Don’t take things personally
- Give more, expect less
- Read 3 books
- Journal your thoughts
- Take in more scenery
- Write things down
- Create a challenging yet understanding relationship with your body
- Create a budget
- Reach out to family more often
- Become an initiator
- Do something spontaneous
- Take on a physical activity
- Reflect once a month
- Mentor someone
- Be mentored by someone
- Make a difference in someone’s life
Additional Helpful Resources:
- Statistic Brain: New Year’s Resolution Statistics
- Buzzfeed: 12 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions You Could Actually Stick To
- TED Talks: 11 Talks That May Inspire New Year’s Resolutions
- Realbuzz: 10 Unusual New Year’s Resolutions
- Huffington Post: Why Some People Almost Always Reach Their New Year’s Resolutions
- Getting Things Done: Super Effective Book from David Allen (Amazon)