It’s That Time of Year.
This time of year, our thoughts turn to new beginnings in the New Year. If you are one of the about 50 percent of Americans who commit to a New Year’s resolution, you might be currently brainstorming for your very own self-improvement project.
However, if we successfully achieved every single New Year’s resolution, we wouldn’t need to make them every year, would we? We’d have the perfect outlook on life, maintain our ideal weight and have money saved in the bank.
Alas, only 8 percent of people surveyed by the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology reported success in achieving their resolution. In fact, 24 percent of respondents say they are never successful with their resolutions and fail every year. It can be demoralizing to fail and those setbacks could persuade us to stop setting goals altogether.
Instead of abandoning self-reflection and self-improvement, why not evaluate the types of goals we set? Are they unattainable from the start? Are we unrealistic? Here are some tips to help make New Year’s resolutions that are beneficial and attainable.
Give Your Goals Some Thought
If you are going to commit to one goal for an entire year, it can’t be decided on a whim. Spend some time thinking back over the past year. Has there been a constant source of an anxiety or worry? Perhaps every time you swipe your credit card, you hold your breath to see if it will be declined. Then a goal to save money would be more apt than a goal to travel the world.
Goals like “travel more” or “be healthier” are too broad to be successful. They cannot be measured and may mean different things to different people. A critical key to effective New Year’s resolutions is to be precise and exact so that you can visual success. Instead of “travel more,” make your goal, “I’d like to take one trip outside of the country this year.” Instead of “be healthier,” say “I’m going to switch all of our meat purchases to organic by the end of the year.” Don’t let the vagueness of the goal derail your progress.
If you are $25,000 in debt and make $30,000 a year, it would not be realistic to set a goal to be debt-free by the end of 2015. By using a budget and online debt calculators, you could set a realistic goal with measurable increments.
Perhaps, after filling out a budget and seeing where you might save, your goal becomes “Make a $100 extra payment on my debt every month.” As you see the total number shrink, you may be inspired to slash your budget to pay off even more.
Share the News
Accountability partners are an important part of successful New Year’s resolutions. If you’ve set out to lose 20 pounds, but your friends keep coming up with ideas for vineyard tastings and burger nights, you’ll get off track quickly. Also, friends and family may be able to give advice or support if they’ve been in your shoes. A friend who lost 15 pounds last year could share their exercise routine, explain reasons not to use diet pills, and suggest healthy snacks and meal options. Include family and friends in your goal so that you have support and accountability in 2015.
Of those people who set New Year’s resolutions for themselves, about 46 percent make it past six months.
If you have a measurable plan, act intentionally and include others, you can make your resolution last the whole year. So as we count down the days to Jan. 1, follow these steps to set New Year’s resolutions that encourage success and self-improvement.
About the Author: Kayla Matthews is a self-improvement blogger who writes about positivity and productivity. You can read more of her latest posts at ProductivityTheory.com, or by following Kayla on Google+ and Twitter.