New year, new opportunities, and new year’s resolutions. Sure, they can be the first steps towards a major life change, but if you find yourself making the same resolutions over and over and over again – odds are it’s time for a new strategy for making your goals a reality. Looking to make a promise that sticks? Here are a few ways to take common resolutions and turn them into actionable tasks that you can actually achieve.
Common resolution: “I want to lose weight.”
What to make instead: “I want to run a 5k by this date.”
Putting your health first is always a good thing, but even if you want to focus on your general well-being you need to give yourself specific milestones. The most successful resolutions aren’t big, pie-in-the-sky goals; they have smaller, more attainable goals that lead up to the big finale. No, it may not be as dramatic as committing to run a 5k instead of a full marathon, but by working your way up the ladder you’ll understand yourself more (and your body will definitely thank you).
Common resolution: “I want to volunteer more.”
What to make instead: “I want to be involved with [insert specific cause] organization.”
Giving back is a great way to get involved and to make a positive impact, but you need to turn your broad resolution into specific behaviors. Like we mentioned above, breaking a resolution into smaller pieces helps make it more practical and attainable. Do you love animals? Spend the first part of the year looking into animal shelters that you could volunteer at. Spend the second part of the year training to be a volunteer, and spend the last part focusing on how you want to volunteer. You’ll find your pro-bono calling in no time!
Common resolution: “I want to stop this bad habit.”
What to make instead: “I will reduce my habit to X times per week.”
Quitting anything cold turkey is not impossible, but it’s very, very difficult. While your ideal outcome might be to ditch a bad habit, focus on the process of getting there instead of the overall goal. Not only will you feel less demoralized along the way, but you can celebrate the journey you’re on instead of solely the final destination.
Common resolution: “I want to get promoted.”
What to make instead: “I want to improve my job performance.”
The best New Year’s resolutions don’t rely on outside factors – they rely on you and you alone. Promotions and other career changes focus on other people and moments of luck just as much as they do on you. By making your goal something that isn’t entirely in your control, you risk feeling like a failure despite having done everything right. Choose one or more minor career-focused goals (getting to work 15 minutes early, learning a new skill, etc.) that focus exclusively on you as an alternative.
Common resolution: “I want to change these ten things!”
What to make instead: “I want to focus on improving this one part of my life.”
You may have a lot of goals for the new year – and that’s completely okay! But you need to know how much you can handle, so give yourself the goal of focusing on one resolution at a time. You don’t have to restrict yourself from making more than one resolution, but by allowing yourself the space and time to focus on each of your goals independently, you develop a healthy mindset and are taking steps to a better you.