New Year’s Resolutions
One in 3 people make a new year’s resolution. They’re fun to make but difficult to maintain! Very few people actually follow through with their promised resolution.
A resolution is a tradition most common in the Western hemisphere, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of something for self-improvement or an act of kindness at the beginning of the new year.
Just before the end of the year, it’s not unusual for us to reflect on our accomplishments of the past year. Most of us want to improve on the past so it is only natural to have plans for the year ahead. The New Year is an ideal time to set goals and desires. It’s good to have goals so we have something to shoot for. But often resolutions are more general and far-reaching and therefore difficult to fulfill and easy to break.
The most common resolutions are:
- Lose weight
- Get healthy
- Stay in touch
- Quit smoking
- Get out of debt
- Save money
- Reduce stress
- Work less
- Cut back on alcohol
- Watch less TV
- Read more
- Become better organized
- Get more sleep
- Learn something new (hobby or new language)
The most common reasons for people failing their New Year’s resolutions are that they set unrealistic goals, they didn’t keep track of their progress or they simply forgot about it. If you’re serious about making self-improvements, then consider taking a more general resolution and making it more simple and defined. For example, 5 years ago, I wanted to do something about volunteering. As a full-time worker, with a family and house to keep, I chose to do an activity that didn’t involve too much time, but made me feel good about donating my time. Instead of just saying I want to volunteer, I needed to be more specific about what that meant. I looked into a few options and found some that could work. Ultimately, I defined my goal as simply to start giving blood. This is something you can do about every 2 months so it only involved about 2 hours each time and up to a maximum of about 5 times per year. Even if I did it only once, I still completed the goal. For me this was a more realistic expectation of my volunteer time and something I feel is helping society as a whole. After doing it once, I felt encouraged and went back as often as I could. I feel good about doing it and it doesn’t take too much of my time.
Another example of a simple attainable goal is travel. I did this in two ways. The first was to make a list of all the places globally my husband and I would like to visit. We try to cross off one place each year. As this is more expensive, we plan carefully and look for ways to save money. Also we never revisit somewhere we’ve already been. Secondly, we occasionally make day trips locally. It’s like being a tourist in your own town and is cheaper option than travelling across the globe! Any change of scene makes you feel like you’ve done something interesting. There’s always a festival or special event somewhere and it’s good to explore nearby and support local!
Other examples of turning general goals into specific attainable goals are:
- Get healthy –> Eat one salad per day
- Cut back on alcohol –> Drink only one glass of wine per week
- Become more organized –> Keep a journal
- Get more sleep –> Go to bed at 10pm every night
- Do something kind –> Pay for a stranger’s coffee
These are only some examples. There are infinitely many more…
What is your New Year’s resolution?