A new year gives us all the opportunity to make changes in our lives. However, so often January 1 comes, and we are no better off than we were last year (with little to no resolve to make things better).
Every year I make New Year’s resolutions, and I am dedicated to making them come true in the 12 months allotted. Sometimes I make it; sometimes I don’t. However, I believe that it’s always worth trying.
You can make New Year’s resolutions that not only stick, but are attainable. Here are seven steps to turn this year into your best year yet.
1. Think About Last Year
Reflecting on the mistakes and mishaps of last year is a good place to start when making New Year’s resolutions. Where could you have done better? What do you want to see change? No need to be down on yourself. Just take a look at your weak points and see what you can do about them this year.
2. Write It Down
There’s something to the act of putting pen to paper (or finger to keypad). It takes it from being just an idea to being real. It’s not out in the universe until it’s down on paper.
There are a lot of ways to do this. You can use a planner or a calendar. You can type it out on your laptop or write it down on a piece of paper. Just make sure it’s written and in a place where you can see it and refer to it often.
3. Don’t Try to Do It All in January
Poor, poor January. We pin all our hopes on those first 31 days. We cram a laundry list of goals into one month and try to make them all happen at breakneck speed. Inevitably, by February we are burnt out, and by the summer, our resolutions are long forgotten.
Let’s give January a break, shall we? If your goals are worth attaining, they will take time – much more than a mere month can offer. Plus the effort and energy it will take to accomplish those resolutions is too much to do all at once. Space them out.
4. From Big Goals to Baby Steps
It’s easy to look at the mountain, decide it’s too big to climb, and crawl back into bed.
Break big goals down into smaller increments. For example, if you’re writing a novel, author Karen Kingsbury once told me that if you wrote six pages every day, you’d have your book finished in a year. That is a feasible daily task that will accomplish a larger goal in time.
5. Get a Little Help from Your Friends
Chances are, if your dreams are big like losing weight or running a marathon, you’ll need a little help from your friends. Reach out and ask for the support you need. It can be a bonding experience you’ll never forget.
6. Identify Time-Wasters
A lot of great tasks in life don’t get finished, because we waste a lot of time doing things that are unimportant or unrelated to our goals. Think about all the time you spend on social networking Web sites or those two hours in front of the television every night. Wouldn’t that time be better spent working towards your resolutions?
We so readily say, “Oh, I just don’t have time.” The truth is that you can make time. Identify the time-wasters in your day and replace them with projects and tasks that will bring you closer to your goal.
7. Sometimes a Year is Not Enough
As the year draws to a close, take some time to reflect on the resolutions you made in January. How did you do? Did you work hard? Did you make the deadlines or do you need another year?
Give yourself some grace. You’ve laid the ground work to achieving your dreams, and you can take the next year to perfect them. Learn from the previous year’s mistakes and grow. Every year is another chance to get it right.