CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. – Every year we sit down, pen in hand, and set ourselves a goal for the New Year that we hope will persevere through the chilly months ahead.
With a bit of careful planning, anyone can give a one-two punch, figuratively of course, to the obstacles standing in between them and their goals.
Here are five tips toward making your New Year's Resolution stick:
1. Be realistic: If your resolution is a hefty undertaking, say losing thirty pounds in two weeks, re-assess and give yourself ample time to reach that goal.
Break down the objective into segments. Turn them into weekly targets and mark them on your calendar. If you reach your goal by the end of two months instead of two weeks, the end result will be just as satisfying, and you will have weekly confidence boosts as you watch your objective steadily come to fruition.
2. Plan using your strengths: Think of how you have succeeded in the past with projects and goals. Have you succeeded more often when you plan out every step in detail before starting? Or do you work better when you throw yourself right into the creative process and adapt as you go?
Reflect on what has worked well for you in the past and then adjust your plan to accommodate.
3. Try something new: If you have assigned yourself the same resolution yearly and have been unsuccessful, then try something different.
There are so many ways to improve your life and the lives of others. If you're in a rut with the same-old goal that just can't seem to be reached, go for a new one this year. Meeting one goal successfully will give you the drive you need to re-visit others.
4. Resolve toward the positive instead of the negative: Instead of deciding to eat less Oreos in the New Year, decide to eat more of something healthier (like apples and peanut butter) when you're hungering for a quick snack.
Having a positive resolution will make it easier to focus on your goal, and it will make the process feel more affirmative. You are allowing yourself something, as opposed to restraining yourself from another.
5. Be very specific: Knowing what you want is half of getting it!
General resolutions like ‘losing weight,' ‘being friendlier,' or ‘being more productive,' tend to be far less successful than specific resolutions like ‘losing five pounds every two weeks from January through May,' ‘smiling at and inquiring into the well-being of at least four people every day,' or ‘building three bird-houses by June.'