Get In Gear For The New Year: 5 Tips For Making Resolutions
The New Year is infamous when it comes to resolutions — not because most people manage to turn over a new leaf but because we declare big goals, work towards them for a few months and then forget about them. This situation didn't come about because we don't want to achieve those goals, but because the system is more than a bit arbitrary. If you want to complete your New Year's resolutions this year, going about it a little differently may make things easier. The tips below can help you reach a goal with a little less struggle.
- Decide what you can do by Feb. 1. Most resolutions don't lend themselves to being completed in a month. But if you can set a goal to reach by the end of January, you'll have some absolutely concrete and obtainable that you can work towards, you've got a better chances of completing 1/12 of your resolution in that first month. Maybe your resolution is to build up an emergency fund containing several months worth of expenses. If you try to save every penny you can during January, you're likely to burn out about the time the end of the month rolls around. But if you set a goal of getting just $400 into your savings account, you'll be able to see the end — and you'll get a buzz when you actually complete that first step.
- Consider the underlying causes of your resolution. Many resolutions aren't as simple as deciding that you just aren't going to do a particular something anymore. If, for instance, you want to stop going out to eat in 2009 and work on eating at home more, think about why you go out to eat. Maybe the way your schedule is currently set up leaves no time for grocery shopping or cooking — and without a few changes to your schedule, you'll be back at the restaurant in a few weeks.
- Talk to your loved ones, and make sure they understand your resolution. For most people, having someone who simply knows about your goal is enough to motivate you — after all, no one wants to fail to achieve a goal and then have to tell someone about it. Furthermore, you can often get a little help. Resolutions like working out more often are easier when you have someone else to do the work with.
- Write down your resolution. If you've written down your resolution, it's just that much harder to forget about. Adding milestones or incentives and placing your resolution somewhere you'll see it regularly can help you keep your goals in mind. You might consider keeping a note about your resolution in your wallet or on your computer — somewhere you'll be inspired to take actions that will move you towards your ambition.
- Think about your resolution now. Sure, you've still got time before the month ends, but I've heard a few New Year's resolutions decided at literally the last moment. Those are the ones that typically don't make it to the next morning — let alone the next month. But spending a little time thinking about your resolutions can help you commit yourself to carrying though, and give you a chance to think about why you want to work toward a particular goal. Incentives can be a great thing, whether you're working towards a little piece of mind or towards a big vacation.