Can you believe we are days away from a New Year and a New Decade?!? This time of year, for most of us, means a fresh start and inspires us to set new resolutions, create new goals, and work hard to be the best version of ourselves that we possibly can.
From health and fitness to finances, being more present to our children, staying on top of household chores and everything in between—there’s a lot that we aspire to change during this time of year.
Setting resolutions is the fun part. The hard part starts on January 2nd, when your alarm goes off early and you need to get up to workout; the first resolution on your list. Hitting the snooze button is so easy, while getting up and getting out is hard! Oftentimes the work that’s involved with reaching the goals is too much for us, or we just don’t have enough time or energy. Did you know 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February?!? The secret to creating resolutions that will last is creating plans with intention. This means ensuring that your plans are aligned with your big-picture goals. There’s no point in adding “wake up an hour earlier” to your to-do list, for example, if you don’t have clear intentions for what you will spend that hour doing.
All too often we go from one year to the next, from one set of goals to the next, with little regard to what we have accomplished. Do you remember what your goals were from last New Years? Not only does this add doubt to whether or not we can achieve our goals, it also prohibits us from seeing what we have accomplished.
A lot can happen in a year. It's important to take some time to pause and reflect on the year that you’ve had. What things stand out to you the most? Which areas were difficult? Which ones rewarding? What did you learn from the challenges? What accomplishments are you most proud of? What were some of your most memorable moments? Your worst ones?
In a way, much of what happens throughout the year helps to shape what will happen in the next—and it’s important to be able to accept the year for what it was. We've all had those years where we cannot wait to say goodbye to the previous year and "ring" in the new one. Learning when there are lessons to be learned, being able to forgive and move forward, and celebrating those achievements and things that you’re especially proud of will gives you the opportunity to reflect on the year that’s passed—and start the new one the right way.
Redefine your Goals.
Once you have taken some time to reflect on your year, it is time to start getting ready for next one! Chances are there are a few things left unfinished hat you’d planned on doing but life (as well all know it) got busy. Before you tack them onto your goals for this year, it’s important to take some time to ensure that these goals are still relevant to you. Some things, such as spending more time with friends, you’ll want to carry over, while other things maybe can be scratched off the list.
You should also take some time to question your intentions behind your goals. Instead of listing blanket goals, write out why you want to accomplish the goal in question. What will you achieve from it? By giving yourself intention, you will also give yourself motivation and drive to strive for it.
It’s important to ensure your goals are clear, instead of vague objectives that you’ll have a hard time reaching. Instead of “get healthy,” for example, you’ll want to ensure that you specify exactly what this means to you. Maybe it means eating better, which would involve looking up some healthy new recipes, cleaning out your pantry and filling it with healthy snacks. Being specific to your goals will help you when it comes time to measuring how you're doing.
Create a Plan that Works for You. Then Commit.
Sticking with goals can be tough, even if we start out with the best of intentions. Take some steps to make things a bit easier for yourself. This means getting the tools you need to achieve your goals—for example, a new pair of running shoes if you’d like to start jogging. It also means ensuring that you break your big-picture goals up into small, doable steps, and jotting these steps down in a planner. Try to keep your schedule realistic by leaving "breathing room" in between tasks and not loading yourself up with a million and one things to do. Remember, you are in charge of your schedule, so try to fight the temptation to take on too much. It's okay to say no. (We'll dive into that word later this year.)
Last but not least...get excited! It's a new, fresh start and if you put your mind to it...you can literally achieve anything. You have to believe in yourself...that's the most important thing. Enjoy making your resolutions and think of how enthused you will be a year from now when you sit back and realize you achieved what you set out to do! You've got this!