Would you call yourself an optimist or a pessimist? Do you view the glass half full or half empty? Do you like to dream big, or do you keep your dreams simple? I ask these questions because I want to express to you the importance of challenging yourself in a balanced way, especially when it comes to making New Year’s resolutions. What I mean by balancing your challenges is not to make them too simple but not to make them impossible, either. Challenges, goals, and resolutions should allow you to grow in ways that you haven’t experienced before, but they should also be doable. Read the following to learn more about resolving in the best way possible for 2014.
Avoid making a resolution that is too ambitious.
When thinking about the things you want to accomplish by the end of the year, you won’t want to be too general. General resolutions that are popular include becoming debt-free, being happy, and getting healthy. These are all great resolutions, but they’re also too vague, undefined, and somewhat impossible to do within a year. For instance, what does being healthy look like? Will you eat better, exercise more, or try to get outside more often? Even deeper, what does eating better look like? Will you cut out sugars and carbs from your diet, or simply add more fruits and vegetables to what you already eat?
When you make large and vague resolutions, it’s easy to go on with life and forget about them. However, making doable resolutions allows you to make plans and stick with them. Depending on the size of your resolutions, I would suggest only making about 2–3 of them for the year. Of course, you’ll find small goals and accomplishments throughout the year that you didn’t plan to achieve from the beginning, but that will come with life
Make SMART resolutions.
As shown in an article from Bankrate.com, SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Keeping these adjectives in mind while making your resolutions will help you make the right decisions about what types of goals you want to complete, how you want to complete them, and when you want to complete them. Using a previous example, you probably won’t be able to become debt-free in a year; this goal is not realistic. However, you could start small with this big goal and make a 2014 resolution of working with a budget for the year, which might help you become debt-free in the future.
While you make your resolutions, it’s a good idea to have the SMART acronym as a checklist and create and modify your resolutions from that. As a personal example, I might make a resolution to be less stressed. This goal is a bit vague, so I need to define and specify it; I may define it as taking a few more breaks from all types of work and saying “No” to things that don’t allow me to take breaks from my busy schedule. Then, to make this goal measurable I could decide to take one day a week that I can use for myself, whether I spend it with my husband, some friends, or on my own. I would say that this goal is already attainable and realistic because, theoretically, relaxing is possible for anyone. To make my resolution timely, I would simply need to schedule my break times throughout the year so that I can feel less stressed by the end of the year.
Making resolutions is a tough job to do, especially if you’re in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, like I am. Set some time apart from everything for you to really think about how you want to personally grow in 2014, and make these resolutions to yourself. I’m excited to share the next few posts in this series, and I hope that you’ll join me in making some doable and durable New Year’s resolutions. Share with us your New Year’s resolutions in the comment section below, and let us know if you have any questions or comments.