Evaluating YOU at the Start of a New Year
Did you make resolutions last year? If you did, it’s likely you’re planning to make resolutions this year as well. Are any of them repeats? Did you stay committed to your resolutions last year and accomplish them? Or did you give up sometime after January 2nd? If the latter is true, this year can be different!
As you sit down to commit yourself to change, ask yourself who you want to be. Be careful to avoid negativity. This is not a time to list everything you don’t like about yourself. Making positive changes is a lot easier with a positive attitude. For example, if you have a goal to lose weight this year (as many of us do), don’t say to yourself, “I’m overweight,” or “I’m fat.” Instead, say, “I want to improve my health.” Don’t label yourself—in other words, don’t think about flaws, but think about positive improvements.
As you evaluate yourself, jot down phrases that describe the kind of person you want to be:
- I want to be healthy.
- I want to be kind.
- I want to be financially stable.
Notice I chose broad descriptions, open to personal interpretation, and also within reach. Don’t set yourself up for failure by choosing goals that you can’t control the outcome of, like, “I want a new job,” or, “I want to make a million dollars,” or even, “I want to lose 20 pounds.” While none of these are impossible, there are a lot of factors that contribute to their success and you can’t control all of them.
Once you have a list of desired qualities, you can begin to plan how to obtain them by breaking them down into small and specific, easy-to-accomplish goals. To illustrate, I’ll use goal #1: “I want to be healthy.” You may not be able to control the exact number of pounds you lose or dress sizes you drop, but you can control how often you jump on the treadmill and what you put in your body. Break that goal down like this:
- I want to be healthy
- I will exercise 3-6 times every week.
- I will eat 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables.
Now you are setting yourself up for success! You are creating realistic, specific goals that will ultimately lead you to your ultimate desire. And to further increase your chances of success, take each goal a step at a time. Break it down by month. If you have specific goals to accomplish each month, the task won’t seem so overwhelming and you’ll be less likely to give up.
It may also help to come up with some sort of system of accountability. You can keep a journal, write daily/weekly/monthly goals on a calendar, or create a to-do list and check items off after you’ve accomplished them. Whatever system you choose, make sure you keep it in a place highly visible (put your to-do list on the fridge, so that you have to face it every time you go into the kitchen).
So, just to recap, here are the tips to keep in mind while planning your New Year’s Resolutions:
- Use positive phrasing.
- Set goals that you can control.
- Break each goal down into realistic, easy-to-accomplish steps.
- Have a system of accountability.
As you look forward – and inward – during this special time of year, raise a glass to a new year and a new you. Good luck!