Make a Plan to Actually Keep that New Year’s Resolution

We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise, we harden.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Do you set New Year’s Resolutions?

I’ve talked about them before, about the process of reflecting on the past year and resolving to make changes for the New Year–a process that many people take up around this time of year.

New Year’s Resolutions have practically taken on joke status in the social conversation. It’s just so common to set these goals and abandon them after a month or two. Declaring the goal is much easier than the process of actually achieving it. You know what you want, but how to do you get there?

As I started thinking ahead to goals for 2015, I began to wonder how many people actually sit down and develop a concrete plan for achieving their goals or enacting these resolutions, before diving in. Solid plans require preparation and we do this for most things: building a house, taking a trip, throwing a party. But it seems that when it comes to resolutions, many people do little prep beyond declaring the goal.

This past year, I had set a small goal for myself regarding my writing that it doesn’t seem I will achieve this year. Rather than berate myself for this failure, I’m instead going to focus on the plan for this coming year, identifying the steps I need to take and tools I may require to reach these goals, and then setting incremental targets to reach throughout the year. I will put this plan down on paper, so that I have a guide to follow.

What could a solid plan look like for your New Year’s Resolution? If your goal will be to “get healthy,” perhaps your plan might be something like this:

1. Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your goals and set some healthy parameters for yourself.

2. Define your goals in measurable ways: pounds, inches, milestones, etc.

3. Get a gym membership and book a session with a trainer. Define days and times for working out.

4. Start meal-planning. Buy a new cookbook for inspiration, or sign up to a meal-planning service that provides you with menus and shopping lists, if you feel that would help.

5. Find a source of accountability and support–a friend to work out with, some rewards for yourself, a group to check in with.

See how that’s much more concrete than simply saying “I want to get healthy” or “lose weight”?

Embed from Getty Images

Start now–define your goal(s) and figure out a plan and what you’ll need to get there. Maybe your goal is to get organized. So consider investing NOW in some of the tools you will need, like a new agenda planner to keep yourself on target. Maybe your goal is to learn a new skill. Find a course or book a tutor NOW, so that you can get right to work in the New Year. These things could also make good gifts to put on your holiday wish list!

It’s also important to be realistic. Let’s face it: a New Year’s Resolution isn’t going to make or break you. But I do think the New Year is as good a time as any to make positive changes in your life! So make it count!

Have you thought about New Year’s Resolutions yet? What prep might you be able to do to set yourself up for success?

"Moet & Chandon" by Ivo Posthumus on Flickr

Featured Image Credit: “Moet & Chandon” by Ivo Posthumus on Flickr

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