New Year’s Resolutions – How to Make Your Resolutions Materialise

by Remi Badozi on December 28, 2010

New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New YearWow! Everyone is talking about New Year’s resolutions……I guess it is that time of the year again, when a number of people are experiencing the sudden burst of motivational energy. The kind of energy that often comes as a result of over indulgences made during the holiday season. You look at yourself and then say….”This new year, I am going to…..” and so ideas for the new year’s resolutions sets off, and then before you know it, you are setting goals for the New Year – change old habits, create new ones, loose weight, work harder, find the “one”, spend more time with family, earn more money, quit smoking and so the list goes on!
As commendable as most of these resolutions are, it’s very sad to say that most of all New Year’s resolutions are for the most part short-lived, if not completely forgotten before the month of January is over.

I can not think of a better time other than the New Year, to review your past and plan for the days ahead, however, for any real change to occur there has to be a long term commitment. It is all good and well to write down your wish list and get excited over it for a few days or a few weeks, but that’s the easy part, you must know that it would take a longer period of time to achieve your set goals.

New Year Resolutions

The fact that most new year’s resolutions fail does not mean you must not set yours. Resolutions can indeed be made to work if you follow the same simple steps required to make any goal work. The main difference between resolutions and goals (and the number 1 reason why most resolutions fail) is that resolutions do not have deadlines but goals do.

Here are some of the simple S.M.A.R.T steps for you to consider when setting your New Year Resolutions (goals):

  • Specific – Know what you really want

When you are setting your goals, be specific about your new year’s resolutions; phrase the goal in words that would make it obvious whether or not the goal has been completed, by a specific date.  There is no point saying you want to loose weight by the summer. You ought to be specific, phrases like “I want to lose 15 pounds by June 30th” is much more effective than the vaguely phrased goal. When you are specific, it gives you a clear picture in your head – in this case, 15 pounds weight loss by June 30th stays with you and as one carries it around then, passion to loose weight develops.

  • Measurable – Know what the end  result looks like

Your new year’s resolutions should be measurable i.e. you must be able to measure the results to know if you have achieved. For example, if you set a goal to “build a better website”, now this is not measurable. A goal is measurable if you can give answers to personal questions like how many? How much? How will I know when I’ve achieved this goal? Going back to our “build a better website” goal, a more measurable goal would be to “create 10 new articles by the end of every month”. So, if you write 9 articles by 30th January, you know for sure you have not attained your set goal for the month and if you write more than 10 then you can applaud yourself because you have.

Having a measurable goal acts like a guide, if by middle of January you have not written 5 articles you will know you are off track and as you still have time before your deadline, you can push yourself to attain.

  • Achievable – Are you able to create plan of actions for your resolutions?

You need to create goals that are action orientated – ones you know can be accomplished. If you set yourself goals that are not achievable, you will find yourself stretching and stretching but not attaining and in the end you get discouraged and then possibly give up and stick with the status quo. Your new year’s resolutions are achievable if you can identify the exact steps that you will take toward accomplishing them, including catching a glimpse of obstacles that may stand between you and desired goal. Once the obstacles have been identified, you should be able to generate a comprehensive to-do list for overcoming obstacles (e.g. asking for help, getting a loan etc).

Setting goals that are so outrageously high that only a giant could achieve them is meaningless. Ensure you are able to commit to goals and that you know how long it would realistically take you to achieve. If you do not believe you could achieve a particular new year’s resolution, then do not set it – your goals should inspire you to move and not haggard you!

  • Realistic – Choose the right resolutions

When choosing your resolution, bear in mind that it should be personal to you and not just because you heard a friend talking about it and it sounded good or because you know you can easily achieve it. Most new year’s resolutions fail at the offset because the resolutions are not made with serious intent and deliberation. One rule of thumb is this…the right resolution always has the right reason.
Ensure you give some thought to what you really want and why you want it. Ask yourself, Is it Realistic?”  What direct benefits do you hope to receive? For example, if one of your resolutions is to loose weight, is a weight loss resolution meant to improve your self-esteem? Is it for attractiveness? Is it for vitality? Is it for longevity? If you can identify the “whys”, it will help you to avoid setting unrealistic goals and also setting goals for the wrong reasons. When you set goals that are realistic, your goals will make you stretch in order to attain, not because it is unreachable but because aiming high generally makes people try harder, thereby moving to a higher level.

  • Timely – Set time-bound resolutions

For your goal to work out it should have time limits, this is one of the major points that set goals apart from resolutions. Most New Year resolutions have no time-bound, i.e. no deadline is set for accomplishment. When the time activating factor is not included in your goal setting, as human being, your inner (or outer…) being will set in and so you set procrastination in motion and so you find yourself continuing  to put things off. By setting a goal with a deadline, you have something to work towards.

Avoid setting illogical deadlines just for the sake of a time limit. It would be much easier for you in the long run if you decide on a time frame that is reasonable and makes sense for a particular goal; else you risk not taking the deadline seriously.  Keep in mind that missing a due date is not necessarily a sign of problem with your performance; it might simply mean that your plan was too hard-hitting or that your environment has changed in some unexpected fashion. Therefore, you should build flexibility into your expectations, such that you can simply adjust when there is need to. Likewise, when setting your deadlines, be mindful of other commitments (such as family occasions – birthdays, wedding etc) that may have impact on meeting your deadline for a particular goal. Sometimes, making significant progress towards your goal may require some kind of discipline in order to stay on top of things, for example you may have to live strictly by daily planners etc. Daily planners have helped me in so many ways and I love checking off items on my to-do lists!

Even with all the steps above in place, be mindful of the fact that there would be need for you to occasionally reassess your new year’s resolutions and plans. There is therefore, need for you to be open-minded and be flexible to adjust or even abandon your goals, because sometimes in our lives, we are faced with situations that are beyond our control, some of them just crop up without any prior warning and at the most inconvenient times.

Finally, to make your New Year’s resolutions materialise this time around, picture and characterise them as goals – because as humans, we are more motivated by goals. And be sure to make your New Year’s resolutions active so that they hang around as part of your life for longer than January. There is tendency for you to fall off the horse along the way – possibly more than once, however, you should persistently get back on the horse and continue on our way towards achieving what you set out to achieve.

Go out and make your New Year’s resolutions happen!


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