It’s New Year’s Day! And as Brad Paisley said, it’s the first blank page of a 365 page book, better make it a good book! So what are your New Year’s resolutions? There are lots of different ways to resolve things, and an unlimited number of things you can resolve. Of course the most popular resolution—after gorging during the holidays—is to get your body back in shape, hit the gym every day, etc. My command here in Qatar is one organization, amongst the millions I’m sure, that is putting on a Biggest Loser Competition to start the year off on a guilt inducing track!
Some people are really great at making and sticking to New Year’s resolutions. Other people refuse to make them, arguing that they’re silly or that January 1st is an arbitrary date to try and make a change in their lives. And still others make them, and fail miserably year after year to actually accomplish them. Whatever your take on New Year’s resolutions, remember, they’re just goals like any other that you make at any time of year. What makes them special is that they come with the excitement of a fresh beginning—it’s 2015 now, you can accomplish anything! And the fact that billions of other people are partaking in the goal-setting along with you!
No matter what your stance on New Year’s resolutions, if you do decide to make them, here are a few tips to get you started off in the right direction:
1. Make Your Resolution Simple and Measurable. The biggest mistake failed resolvers make is to create resolutions that resemble far-off fairytale dreams. “I want to live a happier life,” and “This year, I’ll get in the best shape of my life!” sound great, but they’re actually resolutions designed to fail. Make your resolution definite and measurable. Surely, “I will go to the gym at least three days per week and give up soda,” is a more measurable and comprehendible goal that will better help you accomplish the dream of being in the best shape of your life! Make your goal one that you can measure on a weekly basis so that you know for sure whether you’re on the right track.
2. Make Your Resolution Reasonable. Another mistake people make is diving in head first to their goals at 160 miles per hour with no wiggle room in sight. This might work for some, but if you know you’re the type of person who needs to ease into things, you might try “go to the gym for 30 minutes, 3 days per week in January, 45 minutes, 3 days per week in February,” and so on and so forth, until you work your way up to going every single day for an hour.
Likewise, make your goal fit into your lifestyle and what you can realistically accomplish. I mean, you want to push yourself (hence the purpose of the resolution in the first place), but if you’re the person who likes to sleep in, you probably shouldn't set a “run every morning before work” goal, if you know that you’ll sleep right through that alarm most days. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Instead, make your goal to run every day after work, or on your lunch hour. It’s harder to accomplish two habit changes at once—waking up early and beginning to run everyday—it’s much easier, and you’ll be more successful, if you focus on one at a time.
3. Make Your Resolutions Fit Your Personality. I've been doing a lot of reading on goal setting lately, and one thing Gretchin Rubin (the author of The Happiness Project) stresses is the importance of making resolutions that agree with your mentality on restrictions. When making a resolution, it can either be positive, “I will begin to go to the gym!” or it can be negative, “I will stop drinking soda!” Both ways are completely fine to use, you just need to figure out which style works for your personality and which type of resolution you’ll be more likely to accomplish.
If you’re the type of person who has an issue with authority, one who doesn't like to be restricted by rules and regulations, the negative resolutions may not work for you. And likewise, if you’re a rule follower who sticks to their promises (even to themselves) at all costs, you may be more successful with the positive resolutions. The most important thing is to figure out the resolution style that best suits your personality, and then to design your resolutions accordingly!
Happy New Year!