Do you make the same resolutions each year only to break them before Valentine’s Day? Don’t be discouraged. It isn’t you; you may just need to tweak your goal. Ask yourself these questions to come up with a realistic resolution that you actually keep and conquer.
The top two resolutions are lose weight and save money. Maybe these goals matter to you at this point in your life, or maybe they don’t. No matter how popular or common a goal is if it isn’t individually compelling you won’t accomplish it. No matter what goal you choose, you have to have a powerful investment in the why of it.
Pull away from the pack and pick something personally meaningful. For example, maybe this will be the year you walk a 5-k (bonus you may lose weight or raise money for a cause you care about) or learn to play the guitar.
Now that you know the why of your goal the how of accomplishing it may be easier. If you are really motivated to save for a house, forgoing a few extras or finding ways to earn more income may not be as painful. With a big why you are likely to focus less on what you are missing in the moment because the promise of what you’ll gain is so sweet.
How is also about resources. Do you have what you need to accomplish your goal? For example, if you don’t have a guitar or access to lessons you will not be able to learn how to play.
This is where most of us get into trouble. To come up with a realistic resolution you must come up with a realistic timetable (factor in time for setbacks and restarts) and be patient with your progress. For example, it is not realistic to say you will lose 100 pounds in two months. Likewise, it isn’t realistic to save $10,000, go couch to marathon or accompany the local band on your guitar in two months. When your goal is not realistic you are more likely to get discouraged and just give up altogether. When you focus solely on what you didn’t accomplish, you miss the progress you actually have made and can build on. Instead, set incremental goals and plan to lose 10 to 15 pounds or save $500 in two months.
It can be really helpful to set up monthly benchmarks and rewards. You don’t have to wait until you cross the finish line to celebrate. You can give yourself kudos for staying on, or getting back on the path to your goal.
If you are trying for a boomerang goal it can be helpful to evaluate past attempts. Take some time to think about what worked and what didn’t. Make changes as needed and this time might be the right time.
Realistic New Year’s resolutions are personally meaningful and motivating. Choose yours based on what matters to you and what resources and time you have available to actually accomplish the goal.