A resolution is a goal we set for ourselves for the New Year, in hopes of achieving something we want. New Year’s Resolutions should be enough of a challenge to inspire us to make improvements, but not so difficult that we set ourselves up for disappointment. We have all set a goal that is way too high, and ended up feeling bad when we didn’t accomplish it.
When setting any kind of goal, it’s important to remember to make it SMART- specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Specificity helps make our goals clearer so we can focus better. Measurable goals make us able to track our progress and set benchmarks, and know when we have accomplished them. Achievability helps us avoid setting goals that will not be reached, which can be disappointing and discouraging. Relevant means the goals we set are necessary and will help our lives come better, and aren’t just for the sake of having a resolution. And finally, time-bound goals allow us to know when we want to have achieved our goals, so we can stay on track.
There are some tips that make sticking to a goal easier. Remember to reward yourself when you do well. This self-encouragement is a motivating force. Don’t fall into negative self-talk. People always do better with cheerleaders than with bullies, so be a cheerleader to yourself. Ask people in your life to help you reach your goal, whatever it may be.
Setting more than one goal is okay, but try not to overload yourself with too many. Focusing your energy on specific goals instead of spreading it out too thin is effective. For me, journaling my goals each morning, and journaling the steps I’m going to take that day to get closer to them, is a helpful reminder and encouragement. The steps might be small on a given day, but writing them down makes me focus on them, and feel accomplished when they’re done. Journaling also helps me track my progress.
Remember that one day without sticking to our resolutions doesn’t mean we should quit. There is always tomorrow to do better. Be patient, and know that positive change takes time. But it is worth it.