Let’s do something different with year when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. Let’s actually keep the resolutions we make to ourselves. Instead of giving up whatever you were trying to do by the time Groundhog Day comes along, let’s make resolutions that really get kept.
So how do you do so? What are the keys to making New Year’s resolutions that you can keep? Here are a few tips:
- Make realistic goals: For example, if you just graduated from college and owe $100,000 in student loans, you are not going to be able to get it paid off in one year unless you are making in the mid-six figures, which is not likely for a new graduate. Instead, why not aim to put a few hundred dollars a month extra towards your student loan? It may not seem like much at the beginning, but the effort will add up over time.
- Don’t try to do too many things: Sure, you’d like to fix everything in your life 100%, but trying to accomplish it all at once will result in discouragement, disappointment, and disregarding of your goals. For example, you think you can realistically go from being a couch potato to training for a triathalon, mastering skills in running, swimming and biking. Those are three tough sports to master, and trying to do them all immediately, when you currently get winded walking the dog, will be too much. Instead, why not aim to try one of the many Couch to 5K programs out there, where they gently pace you on your way to being able to run three plus miles? Then you can take on other athletic challenges after accomplishing that.
- Make the resolutions measurable instead of amorphous: For example, Instead of just saying that you will learn how to get better on the computer, resolve to spend a specific number of hours each week working on learning how to use Microsoft Office, and vow that you will have learned a new one of the components (Excel, PowerPoint, Word) every two months.
- Come up with a realistic plan to achieve your resolution: Life coach experts say you should break down the goal as to how you will achieve it. Instead of just resolving that you want to look for a new job, come up with an action plan, where you will send out X number of resumes each week, contact X number of decision makers every week, and spend X amount of time looking at job postings.
- Think about what worked in the past for you: Whether it be with New Year’s resolutions or some other goal, you may have had success that you can build on in achieving things in 2013. What were the keys to mastering those goals for you? Think about that, and build upon it.
Lisa Swan writes for a variety of life and career coaching sites, including the Institute for Coaching.