The past few weeks I've been reading about the most common resolutions, the most commonly broken resolutions, and how to make your resolutions stick.
Of course, I (and you) don't have to wait for the new year to set goals. In fact, if you read the comments on different blogs and sites, you'll see lots of people who think that New Year's Resolutions are lame. Who wants to fight for a treadmill at the gym in January with all those people who have resolved to "work out more" in the new year?
Resolutions are goals.
As you think about planning for the new year, reminder yourself:
It's a resolution (aka goal), not a wish.
I can resolve and write down that I want to be a size 10. I can wish all I want. I can put up inspirational quotes in my office and motivational pictures on my fridge. I can buy size 10 clothes for when it (magically) happens. But without taking steps to achieve my goal, it's nothing but wishful thinking.
Have you ever done this? Made a New Year's Wish?
According to Time.com, the most commonly broken New Year's Resolutions are:
- Lose Weight and Get Fit
- Quit Smoking
- Learn Something New
- Eat Healthier and Diet
- Get Out of Debt and Save Money
- Spend More Time with Family
- Travel to New Places
- Be Less Stressed
- Drink Less
Last year, to have a visual for 2012, my sister and I made "vision boards." Harnessing that inner scrapbooker from 10 years ago who has fancy scissors and stickers, we were crafty for an afternoon cutting out pictures, goals, and quotes for the new year.
I've looked at this board almost every day for the past year.
Some things weren't goals. I already knew I was going to Greece, so putting a picture on my board was more to remind me that fun was already in store for the new year.
One of my goals was to pay for a vacation in cash. This was a success! It also took a lot of planning and spreading out the expenses over the course of 6 months. I didn't just wish myself a vacation. I worked to make it happen. And when I came back from the Caribbean, I had a tan, souvenirs, rum cake and no new vacation debt!
There are other things on my 2012 board that, in hindsight, were just wishes. Things that I wanted, but didn't put in the work to make them happen. Let's not do that again for 2013.
I follow The Happiness Project and was inspired by Gretchen's post on December 19, 7 Tips for Sticking to Your New Year's Resolutions.
Here's a few of the tips that resonated with me.
A vague resolution like "lose weight" or "meet new people" is hard to fulfill. Think it through. How will you lose weight? How much will you lose? When will you lose it by? What kind of people do you want to meet? Where do you want to meet them? What do you want to do with these new people? Why?
Hold Yourself Accountable.
I think about my quest to "do more fitness." One way I hold myself accountable is by having a personal trainer. Appointments are scheduled and money is paid. It gets done. But I need more than six hours of fitness a month. How can I hold myself accountable? My goal for January is 15 days of fitness. I have 6 training sessions scheduled. So the other 11 days are up to me. I can ski. I can go to Zumba. I can swim. I can bike. I can jog in my neighborhood. I'm holding myself accountable by keeping a calendar where I write down each day that I got my fitness. When I hit 15, I know I'm done. Anything after that is the proverbial icing on my fitness cake. Rather than a generic "do more fitness" resolution for the new year, I'm going to target a specific goal and measure my progress: 15 days of fitness each month.
Not everything has to be a trial or a punishment. Not every resolution has to be giving something up. Think about positive and fun things you want to do. The list of broken resolutions includes "Travel More." That's nothing that I've struggled with. Maybe because it is something I enjoy, so I take the time, energy and planning to get it done. A positive resolution for me could be "Try a new Denver restaurant, festival, event or museum each month." A positive resolution is something that you would enjoy working for and planning. You'll still get the same sense of accomplishment for achieving your positive resolution.
This year I'm using a dry erase calendar and working on my goals by month. Whatever goals / tasks I identify for the month will be written on the side. The day that I do them, they get marked on the calendar. It will be my easy visual. How many days of fitness do I have left? How many blog posts have I written? How many healthy recipes have I tried? Did I get my external hard drive? Did I paint the bathroom? It will be easy to see whether I made excuses or got it done.
What about you? Do you make New Year's Resolutions? How and when do you set your goals?