Every year I like to recap what it takes to make a good New Year’s resolution. I always have critics that say resolutions at this time of the year are silly or superficial and I can appreciate that argument. After all, we are all a work in progress and we shouldn’t really wait until the end of December to make improvements on ourselves. But alas, so many people do just that. So if you are going to partake in what has become a fairly common practice at year’s end, then you might as well go about it efficiently.
To begin with, let’s call our resolutions “goals” instead. As a therapist who often focuses on helping clients achieve their goals, I find people are much more successful when they are very clear about what they are trying to achieve.
Begin by breaking your goal down into manageable parts that can be done over time. When a resolution, or a goal, is declared in a broad sense then it can easily slip away as time goes by. An example of this would be saying something like, “I want to be more fulfilled in 2014” or “I want to improve my relationship with my spouse in the New Year.” What do those statements even mean? They most certainly mean something different to different people and with such global statements it is very difficult to create an action plan.
To clearly assert your goals, you must first be clear about what they mean to you. For instance, being more fulfilled may pertain to your career, your home life, or even creative outlets. Improving your relationship with your mate may mean having more time together, communicating more openly or finding more common interests. Make an actual list with the goal at the heading and write down the things you can actively start doing right away. Be clear, specific and very detailed. Make your action items things you are excited or at least willing to do, not just things you think you “should” do.
Once you have done this then share your list with a loved one. You are more likely to stick to your plan if someone else bears witness. This is just human nature. That’s why people tend to exercise more consistently when they do so with a trainer, teacher or even workout buddy. We are often more motivated by external pressures then our own inner voice.
These goal-setting strategies are useful all year round, but for those of you who feel compelled to start a new when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st then you should have your complete plan in place ahead of time.
To those of you who are embarking on setting goals for the New Year, I wish you success and fulfillment in your endeavor and to those who are happy with the status quo, I wish you continued contentment. To everyone here at DailyStrength who have honored me by reading my blogs, whether you agree or disagree with my sentiments, I wish you a beautiful Holiday season and a New Year filled with insight, understanding, personal fulfillment and joy.
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