What is the Best New Year’s Resolution?

by Nindo Mom on December 21, 2010

This is a question that’s been on my mind lately. In fact, it comes to mind every year around this time—when I’m getting stressed by all the last-minute Christmas shopping I still have to do, and my mind starts to search for something else to think about.

What’s it going to be this year—losing weight? Make more money? Spend more time with my family?

Yes, yes, and yes.  No matter how many times I’ve made similar resolutions to these in the past, that doesn’t mean they’re any less viable now. Even if last year, my results came up a little short.

And this should be the attitude you should take, too.

When developing your New Year’s Resolutions, don’t worry about whether you’ve “failed” in the past. Because coming up short on a goal is not the same as failing. Not at all.

New Year’s Resolutions are really just personal goals that we set for ourselves, similar to the business goals a corporation might make. And they’re important. Because you need to know which target you’re aiming at if you’re ever going to hit it.

There are three main mistakes that many people run into when making their resolution. They:

1.     make goals that are too big to accomplish in one step.

2.     Make goals that are too non-specific

3.     Make goals that are really wishes—things that they have no control over

If your goal fits into one of these problem categories, don’t despair. You don’t necessarily need to toss your goal out or start all over.

How to Solve the Big Three Problems with New Year’s Resolutions

For goals that are too big:

If your goal is something that’s going to take a lot of time and effort to accomplish, you’ll want to break it down into smaller, more manageable steps. How many? As many as it takes. And for each of these steps, set a mini-deadline, with the final deadline being the date you wish to complete the entire, big bad goal!

For goals that are too vague:

Spruce it up with some actual details! Want to lose weight? Set a number. (Make sure to break your final weight loss goal into a number of smaller mini-goals, with mini-deadlines that are spread out over a reasonable amount of time.) Want to go back to college? Say which one, what date you’ll register by, and what your first semester of classes will be–or at the very least, your major. The problem with vague goals is that you can’t judge whether you’re getting any closer to accomplishing them, because you don’t even know what to expect out of yourself. Be specific, and you’re problem is taken care of.

For “wishful” resolutions:

For a resolution to be “do-able,” it must be something that is within your power to take action upon. You can’t make a resolution–at least, it’s not a good idea–to do something that depends on the actions of another person or entity. For example, you would not make a resolution to win a particular contest–but you could make a resolution to enter a particular contest. It would be unwise to resolve to get a new job (although that would certainly be the desired outcome)–you would resolve to take actions that would likely result in getting a new job, such as applying for at least one job each week.

It is important to phrase your resolution in such a way that you have complete control over whether you can accomplish it. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for you might consider a failure. Instead, set yourself up for success. Carefully craft your goals to be actions that you can take, rather than being too attached to the end result. Because ultimately, if you do all the right things for long enough, you’re quite likely to succeed. You don’t want to become frustrated and prematurely stop your efforts because you thought you failed–when all you really did was stop trying too soon.

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