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3 Ways to Set Realistic New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time of year again! It feels like just a couple of months ago, we were preparing for 2016, and now, 2017 is only few days away. New Year’s Eve is my favorite holiday. I love the anticipation and I always feel like with the new year comes an opportunity for a fresh start. Part of embracing that opportunity for a fresh start involves setting new year’s resolutions. New year’s resolutions get a bad rap – mostly because very few people actually follow through, remain consistent, and actually do the things they promised themselves  they would. Part of the reason that so many new year’s resolutions fail is because they’re not realistic in the first place. These 3 tried and true goal setting tips are sure to help you set realistic new year’s resolutions that you can and WILL stick with all year long.

It's that time of year again! Make sure you're utilizing these tips to set REALISTIC new year's resolutions.
  1. Clearly define what you hope to accomplish: One mistake people often make when it comes to their new year’s resolutions is that they aren’t specific enough. It’s important to define very clearly what you want to accomplish and how you will make it happen. For example, one popular resolution is to live a healthier lifestyle in the new year (this is actually one of my resolutions this year). “Live a healthier lifestyle” is vague. Are you going to eat more vegetables? Take more vitamins? Focus on your mental health? See your doctor more often? A better way to phrase this might be “I am going to live a healthier lifestyle in the new year by eating less junk food, working out more often, and getting more sleep.”

  2. Make sure you are able to measure your progress: If goal setting 101 was a class, one of the first lessons would be about the importance of setting measurable goals. It’s imperative that when you set your new year’s resolutions, you ensure that they involve things that you can track. If your resolutions aren’t measurable, how are you going to know if you accomplished them or not? To stick with our previous example, you can make your new year’s resolution measurable by wording it like this: “I am going to live a healthier lifestyle in the new year by only eating junk food once per week, working out at least 4 days per week, and sleeping at least 7 hours each night.” Then, you can clearly determine which weeks you succeeded and which weeks you fell a little short so that you can make any necessary adjustments moving forward.

  3. Set a deadline or check-in dates: I’m a big deadline person. I think that the best way to avoid procrastination is to give yourself due dates, and this rule applies to new year’s resolutions as well. If applicable, set a deadline for your new year’s resolution so that you know when it needs to be completed. If you’re new year’s resolution is like our example and is more of an ongoing thing, set a few check-in dates so that you remember to stay on track and monitor your progress. I like to set either monthly or quarterly check-in dates for myself. Adding an additional sentence to your new year’s resolution like, “I am going to live a healthier lifestyle in the new year by only eating junk food once per week, working out at least 4 days a week, and sleeping at least 7 hours each night. I will monitor my progress on the 1st of each month,” might be helpful. I also like to set reminders of the check-in dates in my phone to keep me on track.

What are your new year’s resolutions this year?

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