I make New Year's Resolutions. Every. Year. And every year I hear enthusiastic words of encouragement and support by some, whereas others are unimpressed and profess things like "New Year's Resolutions are destined to fail" and "every day should be an opportunity to change, so why choose the New Year?" Well, to the naysayers, I say, why not?! Why not seize every opportunity that we can to re-evaluate our lives and ourselves, and make positive goals? And since people who explicitly make New Year's Resolutions are ten times more likely to attain their goals than people who don't make resolutions at all, I'm not about to stop any time soon (1).
Some years I make incredibly detailed resolutions, utilizing the SMART goals system by Peter Drucker. This system suggests that, in order to be attained, goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based. For example, instead of setting the goal of "eating healthier", a SMART goal would be: "Eat at least 5 servings of vegetables a day and eliminate refined sugars from diet completely." Other years, my goals are much more general, as was the case in 2016. (By the way, you can read my blog post from 2016 about some easy to keep, foundational resolutions!)
As it is with every year, I kept some of my 2016 resolutions and some I didn't, but if I hadn't set high goals for myself, I don't think I would have achieved as much that year. I have found that the main thing is not to be hard on myself when I fall off the bandwagon, but to just dust myself off and start over. No need to wait until the next calendar year. For 2017, I have more specific, SMART system designed resolutions. Alas, due to getting sick and becoming completely useless for the past few days, I have already joined the 25% of people whose resolutions do not last the first week of January. But that's OK. I am just going to start again! I have my goals written down to look over, and remind myself of, often, so I will just pick up where I left off.
How are you doing with your resolutions?
In health and resolution,
1. Auld Lang Syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year's resolvers and nonresolvers, by John C. Norcross, Marci S. Mrykalo, Matthew D. Blagys , University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology, Volume 58, Issue 4 (2002).