Each year, as it gets closer and closer to December 31st, I begin thinking about what my New Year’s resolution should be. Even though I have done this for as long as I can remember, I cannot remember any of my past New Year’s resolutions. I suppose this makes sense, because only 8% of people successfully achieve their resolutions.
So why bother making a New Year’s resolution? What’s the point? The point is this: even if we don’t achieve our New Year’s resolutions, we can grow through the process of developing our New Year’s resolutions. But only if we take the time to reflect (completely and honestly) about the past year.
Reflecting upon the past 366 days can be a daunting task. Facebook makes it easy for us to look at some of the moments from our past year by creating “Year in Review” videos. (If your Facebook timeline looks anything like mine, you’ve probably seen a few of these recently!) While these videos are entertaining to watch, they don’t adequately capture the most important pieces of our lives. The lessons we’ve learned, the obstacles we’ve overcome, and the accomplishments we’ve achieved simply cannot be represented in such a video. This means that, in order to reflect upon the past year, we have to set aside time to ask ourselves the following questions:
To get the most value out of this exercise in self-reflection, it is essential to write your New Year’s resolution down. According to one study, writing your goals down makes you 42% more likely to achieve your goals! Here are some more tips (backed by research) to help you develop an effective New Year’s resolution:
- Ask yourself why you want to achieve your New Year’s resolution. As Josh Ellis stated: “The trick to a good resolution or a good goal is all in your why. Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to be less stressed?”
- Turn your resolution into a question. For example: Replace the resolution to “drink less soda pop” with “how might I find easy ways to drink more water?”
- Make your New Year’s resolution a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Bound) goal.
- Establish a timeframe for your resolution. Include a deadline and benchmarks.
- Create an accountability network. This can be done by speaking with someone who is close to you and asking them to help keep you accountable. You can also share your New Year’s resolution (and updates on your progress) on social media to develop an accountability network.
Wishing you peace, love, and laughter in the New Year! (Oh, and success with your New Year’s resolution!)
“A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.” – Greg S. Reid