The New Year has always been a time of celebration and good luck. Different cultures celebrate the New Year in their own ways, but almost everyone seems happy, full of hope and enthusiastic about the New Year and thus renews their vows and commitments for a good fortune.
A New Year's resolution is also a commitment that many individuals and/or organizations/business units make on New Year's Eve to bring positive changes and improvements within themselves or their businesses.
Did you know that almost 80% of resolutions fail as early as mid-January of the year, and the percentage of failed or abandoned resolutions reaches 95% at around April? Why? Many things come into play: a lack of true commitment, psychology, stress, fear of a change, the goals set are simply not realistic, people do not feel as equally motivated/energetic throughout the year as they may feel in the very beginning...you name it, people can find a reason not to follow through with their resolutions.
We will look into some tips on how to make realistic and achievable New Year's resolutions.
- Think about your resolution well beforehand. Setting a New Year's resolution is a process of planning and setting goals that you really want to achieve. Find something that will improve/change your life, business, relationship, career, physical fitness or financial well-being. Understand that there is a difference between your wishes and what you want and need.
For example, if your office is away from your home, you need to drive to your office. You may wish to have an expensive Ferrari to drive there, but that isn't your need. You need to have a car (any car that you can afford) so that you can drive to work, and, as such, your resolution should be about how to buy a new car that you can realistically afford.
Sometimes it's hard to determine what you really want or need, but you have plenty of time until the New Year. Think well, write down all the problems/needs/wants you have and choose which one you really want to get solved and improved. Think whether you only want to achieve the resolution or you are actually willing to achieve it.
- Plan your goals and write them down. This will keep you on track during the process and won't let you lose sight of your goals and plans. Use any format you want to write down your plan. You can use a computer or simply write it down on a paper. Write out every step and detail about your goals and the way you want to achieve them. You may want to use different sheets of paper for each goal in order to be more organized and neat.
- Set standard SMART goals. The goals you set should meet the following criteria:
- Specific: The goal must be specific, concise and simple. It should state what is it that you want in simple understandable words.
- Measurable: Your goal should be measurable, you should know and let others know (if they are also affected by your goals such as your employers, business partners, etc.) of what would it mean if you achieve the goal and what it will take to be successful. For example, if your goal is to get a new car, you must state how much money will be required for it, how much extra money will be needed for the tax, etc.
- Achievable: Your goal should be achievable and realistic. Be practical. This is the most important step to keep in mind. People usually fail in goals because they set unrealistic goals that are simply not possible within the given scenario.
- Relevant: Your goal should be relevant to what you have dreamed of. It should have something that, when you think of achieving it, will motivate you enough to put in the effort and actually achieve it.
- Time bound: Your goals should have a time frame. You should specify the time you will need to achieve it. Be careful to set a realistic time frame. If your time frame is too short for the goal to be achieved it may be discouraging and prevent you from achieving it; while on the other hand, if you take too long to achieve a goal, you will soon get exhausted and more likely quit.
- Set alternative resolutions as well. Be flexible in your plans and set alternative goals and methods to achieve your desired results, should you need to change your goals and plans. Always have a Plan B so that when Plan A isn't achievable you will have the option to work on plan B.
- Start it with your mind. Set your mind and firmly believe that you will achieve your resolution. Constantly visualize how it will look and feel when you actually achieve your goals. Think how will you act once you have achieved the goal and act as though you have already achieved it. Encourage others to visualize your success and be around supportive people who will encourage you during the process.
- Start from Zero. Take a tiny step at a time, as they say every long journey starts with a single step forward. Keep your spirit and always be in constant search of achieving your goals. Always look for clues and situations that might help you achieve your resolution.
- Remind yourself of your resolution constantly. Write down your resolution and stick it to your monitor, on the front door of your fridge or any other place that you will notice it often, this way you will always be reminded of your resolution and slowly it will get into your sub-conscious mind. Then, all of a sudden, everything will start working in your favor to help you achieve your resolution.
- Reward yourself when you're successful. Be it a Saturday night party, a long drive with your loved one or a dinner in your favorite restaurant, always reward yourself on your small achievements that bring you closer and closer to your resolution. Don't get too stressed during the process. Instead, try to convert each step in achieving your resolution into a fun activity.
- Leave procrastination behind. As Nike says, "Just Do It". This small phrase has a whole lot of philosophy in it. People fail in their goals because they are always procrastinating. They are always in a mind state of "I will do it", but rarely do. Don't be in such a position and just act on your plans, start now and never wait for the next day, hour or even minute. Just do it.
Goals and resolutions can be set at any time of the year, but one feels more motivated and encouraged to set resolutions at the start of the year. After all, it is a fresh start, something new that has powerful feelings of joy, encouragement and hope for a better, brighter and rewarding future. Set your New Year's resolutions and keep these motivations and feelings in your mind. Every time you feel down and stressed, remind yourself of your goals and you will feel light and happy.