January 1st of every new year brings a frenzy of goals and resolutions. New year, new you. You, version 2.014. But how many actually follow through with those resolutions? Do you?
Most find themselves back to their old habits by the beginning of February because they make typical resolutions that everybody makes. So this year, leave those yawn-worthy resolutions behind.
Unsurprisingly, a recent Harris Poll found the ten most common New Year’s resolutions are those same resolutions I’ve made, and heard my friends make throughout the years. They are: lose weight, improve financial budgeting, exercise more, get a new or better job, eat healthfully, manage stress more effectively, quit smoking, improve a relationship, stop procrastinating, and make more time for yourself. These resolutions are boring and they almost never come true in the end.
They key to making a successful, yearlong resolution is to create a resolution that fits your specific needs. It needs to be realistic, and it can’t be a generic “I need to lose weight.” How much weight do you need to lose? How do you plan to lose this weight? By when do you want the weight to be gone? How do you plan on keeping the weight off? These questions are overwhelming, but you need a plan in order to actually start going to the gym and eating healthily.
Once you have your resolution organized, it’s time to actually implement the plan. Start making changes in your life that you know will work long term. Be committed and don’t cheat.
Here are some ways you can tweak the ten most common (and boring) New Year’s resolutions:
1. "I want to lose weight"
Turn this resolution into “I need to lose ten pounds before my sister’s wedding this summer.” Or you could go more along the lines of, “I need to tone up. I want my body to look healthy and fit before I put on a bathing suit.” Details will make your goal easier to envision.
2. "I need a better job"
Telling yourself that you hate your job and you want a new one is great, but it’s never going to happen unless you actually do something about it. New Year’s resolutions don’t just magically come true. This year, try something like, “I’m going to update my resume and start handing it out to businesses that fit my needs better.” Or, “I heard that (insert company name here) is hiring. I’m going to give them a call and see what I can do to get myself into the hiring process.” Don’t just sit around and expect a new job to come to you.
3. "I need to improve my relationship"
If you made this resoluation it’s because you’re not happy with someone in your life. So, either it’s time to find a new friend/boyfriend/girlfriend, or you need to work to fix this relationship. Instead of the vague “improvement,” think about what actually needs to be done. For example: “I need to put more time into seeing my friends after work, otherwise they’re going to move on.” Or, if the relationship problem isn’t on your end, “I’m going to tell this person what I think the problem is, and if they agree we’re going to do whatever we can to fix the problem. If not, this relationship just isn’t going to work out.”
Resolutions need to be specific and detailed. They need to highlight the goal, and suggest a way to go about reaching it. If you’re simply making a resolution saying that at some point in time I’d like to do this, you’re never going to get around to actually doing it.
Don’t forget that New Year’s resolutions aren’t only for the month of January, or even the first quarter of the year. New Year’s resolutions are for the entire year, and even for life. Come the summer months check back in on your resolution and evaluate how you’re doing. If you’ve slipped back into your old ways, it’s time to start fresh. While you may have lost your way, you don’t have to wait until January to start again.
So this year let’s all make a resolution of “out with the old and in with the new.” No more generic resolutions that will never allow you to succeed. No more goals that are impossible to reach and no more false expectations. Let 2014 be the year that you actually do make a change for the better. It’s finally time to be the person you’ve always wanted to be.
The first step is just to initiate the change.