New Years Resolutions: How Successful Are You?

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 With just a few days left until 2020 (I guess we can expect better eyesight in the New Year), all the little stories and articles are popping up with “45 Best New Year’s Resolution Ideas 2020″ and 50 New Year’s Resolution Ideas and How to Achieve Each of Them” being just a sample.  How about, for one, we resolve not to look at Good Housekeeping or Maxim for New Year’s Resolution ideas? Done!

While some succeed, many of us are unsuccessful.  For a clue into this conundrum, try Googling “New Years Resolutions” and you get among others– “Work out to feel good, not be thinner”, “Stop gossiping”, and “Drink more water”.  These suck.  They are all good things to do for yourself or for humankind, but they are also extremely vague and how would you know if and when you will succeed? Folks think up these grand, life-changing resolutions without putting any thought into how to make them happen. 

I like the idea of using the same formula as you would for creating a strong goal.  Your resolutions, just like your goals, are most effective when they are SMART.  SMART stands for “specific”, “measurable”, “achievable”, “realistic”, and “timely”.

Using the “drink more water” resolution, one could decide to drink five glasses of water a day. Each glass will be twelve ounces. I will keep a small notebook that will list each day  how many glasses I drank. At the end of one month, look at the last 30 days and see how you did. If you did it, and it was no problem, you might want to beef it up for the next month and so on for the entire year.

No matter what the resolution is, you should touch base weekly at first and then perhaps monthly and then tweak it a little. You might have an overarching resolution to improve yourself in 2020, and then have a handful of smaller SMART resolutions to achieve that big one that sounds great, but lacks the details of how to accomplish it.

A very important factor to consider is why you are making the resolution. Sit down with that same notebook in which you will be keeping track of your daily water intake and write down your thoughts on what is motivating you to make changes. A resolution that is truly important to you will stick around longer than one you pick because it sounds good.

Lastly, TELL SOMEONE what your resolution is.  Pick a friend, a co-worker, or some relatives that are doing the same thing and share your resolutions including some of the ways you plan to make it happen.  Throughout the year, ask them about his or her resolution, and they will ask you about your’s.  It is easy to let a resolution fade away when it only exists in your head.  Tell your sister, your office mate, your best friend, or whomever, and the resolution will be remembered and asked about on a regular basis. 

So, what did we just discuss?  (1) Sit down with a notebook and write a little about what your resolution is and why you want to make this happen.  (2) Write down a handful of smaller short-term resolutions that are SMART and that will help you achieve that Whopper.  (3) Share with someone your resolution, and ask them about his or her’s. (4) Review the progress weekly and then monthly.  If it is not going well, instead of becoming discouraged and giving up, simply tweak it. 

This method might not be as dramatic or sexy as making one bold life-altering pronouncement in your head. Wouldn’t you rather, however, make a resolution that sticks? Maybe Phoebe would have learned to fly a plane and Rachel would have been able to stop gossiping, and Ross would have avoided those awful leather pants had they used this strategy.