New Year’s Resolutions

Planning for a Year of Achievement

New Year's Resolutions

Make resolutions that matter to YOU.

© iStockphoto/duckycards

Are you busy making your New Year resolutions, or have you resolved never to make a New Year's resolution ever again?

If the latter, you're not alone.

Many people get demoralized when, year after year, they make resolutions that they keep for only a few weeks or maybe even just a few days.

Why is this? After all, we all have the best intentions and the timing (new year, new start) couldn't be better. The problem may lie in the fact that we place a huge amount of pressure on ourselves. During the last week of December and the first week of January, all you hear is, "What're your New Year's resolutions?" "What are you going to work on this year?"

And the focus is on the "what" not the "how." When you are more concerned with the goal you set than on the specifics of how you are going to accomplish it, or even whether it is realistic and achievable, you can set yourself up for failure.

So if you resolve to set successful New Year resolutions, read on. Let's focus on how, this year, you can set yourself up for a year of achievement!

New Year Resolution Mistakes

There are two common mistakes that people tend to make before they even start to make their New Year resolutions: they think about what they "should" do, rather than what they really want to do. And worse they think in about what they should stop doing, rather than what they actually want to achieve. "What should I do this year?" "What should I stop doing?", "What do other people suggest I should work on?"

To be successful at any change, you need to really want it. Unless you take time to consider what it is you really want (rather than what you should do or should stop doing) you will invariably end up making a resolution to which you are not entirely committed.

Without commitment, you aren't motivated and after the first setbacks or obstacles you will quit. So the first rule of New Year Resolutions is only to make ones that you are committed to – don't make a resolution simply because it is "the thing to do", or because someone has told you that you should.

The irony of it is that New Year's resolutions have the potential to be very powerful because making them is such a well recognized practice. Everyone knows that everyone else is setting resolutions. And what a great mutual support network that can provide! This external motivation and support, along with your internal motivation – the desire to succeed – is what can make the difference between success and failure.

Eight Rules for New Year's Resolutions

Our Eight Rules for New Year's Resolutions will help to set you up for success right from the start. Inevitably you will come up against challenges and road blocks along the way; however by planning ahead and following these rules, you will be better placed to negotiate these easily, rather than stumble and quit.

Rule 1: Commit to Your Resolution

Successful resolutions start with a strong commitment to make a change. To succeed, you must believe that you can accomplish what you set out to achieve, and that belief is bolstered by the unwavering support you give yourself.

  • Choose resolutions that you really want to achieve – and make them positive.
  • Announce your resolution to everyone around you – they will help hold you accountable.
  • Develop a ceremony to mark the beginning of your commitment – this makes it more "real" and special for you.
  • Don't leave your choice of resolution to the last minute – take time to think about your goals. If you don't, you risk reacting to your current environment and missing the big picture.
  • Questions to ask yourself to determine if you can take ownership of your resolution include:
    • Is this resolution my idea or someone else's?
    • Does this resolution motivate and invigorate me?
    • Does this resolution sit comfortably with other factors in my life, such as my values and long-term plans?
  • Remember that there's no reason why your New Year's resolution should take all year to achieve.

Tip:

Imagery is a powerful technique for helping you commit to your goals or resolutions. Try picturing yourself having attained your goal. How do you feel? How do you look? Where you are, what you're doing? How do others react to you? By visualizing yourself in the position you desire, you can bolster your belief that you can do it and strengthen your motivation.

Rule 2: Be Realistic

The key to achieving goals is...

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