Every year you hear about all sorts of great goals people set to better themselves or a situation in the coming new year. They are called “new year’s resolutions” and most of them get forgotten within a few weeks of the new year. You start to feel bad as the motivation fades but the sad truth comes out on February 1 when you’ve already given up on the awesome goals you set.
For a few years my new year’s resolution alternated between “I resolve not to make a new year’s resolution next year” and “I can’t make one this year, I resolved I wouldn’t last year”. I finally decided not to mess with new year’s resolutions anymore a couple years ago.
Why Do We Only Vow to Improve Ourselves at the End of a Year?
We should always be trying to improve ourselves yet many only focus on improving when setting their new year’s resolutions. It doesn’t really matter why it happens and why people fall victim to this trend. What matters is that you recognize this and decide not to fall victim to the mindset that so many others follow.
Look at your life and try to figure out what you aren’t happy with. If there is more than one thing you want to improve, pick the most important one and focus on that. Once you have that figured out try to come up with a way that you can realistically improve that part of your life.
If you’re having trouble with your finances try to figure out exactly what the problem is. If you aren’t earning enough money, devise a plan to get a better job or pick up a side gig. If you’re spending too much, set a goal to track and reduce your expenses or make a budget and stick to it if you don’t have one yet.
It might seem ambitious to have a long list of new year’s resolutions or goals but if you can’t devote enough energy to each goal it will likely end in failure. There are often many things I want to improve but it always seems most effective when I focus one just one idea. Once you have that goal accomplished you can move on to the next.
Some other ideas to be as successful as possible with your improvements are to set targets or deadlines. Make sure you have a support group (this can be as simple as friends or family) and announce your goal to those people. Ask your support group to hold you accountable!
It Doesn’t Have to Take a Year
The other part about new year’s resolutions is that many people feel that they need to accomplish massive goals that take a whole year to complete. When you set the target so high it is very hard to get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results.
Instead, try breaking a large goal into smaller parts. I believe that people make better progress when things seem more in reach. These smaller goals can have shorter time frames and won’t allow you to procrastinate as much. If I resolved to lose 20 lbs in 2013 I could keep pushing it off until later into the year… well, until it is too late altogether and I’ve forgotten about my goal or given up.
Don’t Call It A “New Year’s Resolution”
Please, don’t call your next goal a new year’s resolution. Recognize new year’s resolutions for what they are… GOALS! Set smaller, shorter goals and start knocking them off your list. When you finish one start the next. Don’t wait for the new year to start your next goal. Work to continuously improve yourself!