January 2012 – The beginning of a brand spanking New Year. So how are you going to make it count? We’re now already a whole week into the New Year and I’m just wondering how everyone is doing with your New Year’s resolutions. Did you make any this year?
I strongly believe in New Year’s resolutions. I know there are a lot of people out there who tell you “Don’t do it! You’ll only set yourself up for failure.” All I can say to that is, well, if you don’t even try, you’ll never achieve. But you have to do it the right way.
Here are my rules for making New Year’s resolutions work:
- Don’t have too many resolutions. If you are trying to change too many things at once, you will make it too difficult for yourself to keep it all up. Have between 1 and 3 things you want to do differently or better.
- Choose habits rather than goals than require outside factors. You have complete control over your behaviour and your habits. So for instance if your goal is to be a bestselling author, the first thing you have to do is write a book. Create a habit to write a certain number of words every day. If you write 1000 words every day (that’s about 1 ½ pages A4), you will have a first draft of your book after about 3 months (an average size novel). Then set habits to edit and look for a publisher.
- Make your resolutions very clear – use SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-based). If your resolutions are woolly and unspecific you have no way of knowing whether you have achieved them or not or whether you are even on track. “Get fit” or “lose weight” are not clear at all. “Run 3 times a week for 30 minutes” or “loose 10 lb by the end of January” are much better. For the weight loss goal you would need to create a plan of how to achieve that weight loss, since it will not happen on its own. You could create 2 or 3 resolutions just around losing weight, if that is your main focus this year. And they all aim for the same result and will support each other.
- Finally, New Year’s is a great time to start out fresh and make changes, but it’s not the only time. You can start at any time during the year to improve your life. All you need is to make the decision to do so and then follow through. Some people make monthly resolutions and this works great for them. Each month they focus on a particular aspect of their life and create new habits to implement changes. It takes around 3 weeks to create a new habit, so a new one every month is actually quite realistic.
All that remains for me to say now is go out, achieve some goals and have a very Happy New Year!