Many of us make resolutions at the beginning of the New Year, but how many of us actually end up following through with them, let alone achieve them? Now that we’ve had time to reflect on 2012 and think about what we might like to happen in 2013, let’s look at the resolutions you might have made. Many resolutions are made without serious intent and are too vague to actually achieve: “lose weight,” “find love,” “be happier,” and so on. Making resolutions for the right reasons and that are achievable give you a goal to aim at throughout the year, something to look forward to, a personal challenge, and/or a new start. We feel better about ourselves when we set personal goals, no matter how small, and then end up accomplishing them.
So how can we set realistic New Year resolutions and set out to achieve them? First, don’t think of a resolution as something silly you make up on New Year’s Eve, but as you would any other goal or challenge you might make on any other day of the year. Then follow these simple steps:
1. Pick the right resolution (think about what you really want to achieve and how you will benefit from it)
2. Set an achievable goal (this works really well if you can quantify your goal in terms of numbers)
3. Set a time line for the goal (and if possible, break the goal up into steps)
4. Review your progress towards the goal (this helps you stay on track… and remember to try as hard as possible not to move the goalposts, but also remain somewhat flexible – at the end of the day, you are only letting yourself down, but you are the main influencer of your own happiness!)
5. Achieve your challenge (or part of it… even if you don’t complete 100% of the original goal, you may have learnt a thing or two along the way… and there’s always a chance to make new resolutions in a year’s time)
One of my own resolutions for 2013 is quitting Saturday cricket, which I’ve played for 20 years, to spend time instead going to the gym, reading my ever increasing mountain of books (I hope to average a book a week) and travel more locally. Another was to start a blog – you’re reading it right now – and write it for a year with an average of a post per week. I also plan to lose weight (via the gym and an improved diet) and aim to lose about 1 kg per month, as well as drop a trouser size.
For singles looking to find love, perhaps you can set yourself the goal of one date per month… or to meet a new person each month… or to join a new club, group or organisation. If you want to try online dating, you could try signing up to a couple of dating websites and start creating a profile (if this interests you, you’ll want to see the posts in Part 1: Find Love, Step 2. Know Yourself & What You Really Want From A Partner and Step 3. (Where To) Start Looking For Love).
For couples, you can set goals individually – for example, to do a random nice thing for your partner once a month (or once a week if you’re feeling overly ambitious) or to take your partner out for a proper romantic date once a month (Part 2: Keep Love, 10 Ways To Surprise Your Partner, addresses this topic). You can also set goals together – to learn something new by taking a course together (a new language or a cooking course perhaps?) or to go on a romantic getaway once or twice a year.
What are your New Year resolutions? What steps will you take to achieve them?