The new year is almost here! Many of us have already made or are making our new year’s resolutions…I know I have! Yet, no matter how long the list is, every year we hear the statistics; we’re told that there will be a day when we’re more than likely going to disregard our resolutions. With that data in our heads, it’s almost as if we’re primed to abandon them. And if we’re going to stop before the finish line, the question is raised: Why do them at all? So, I say that 2024 is going to be the year for keeping at least one of our resolutions until the end.
But it’s one thing to say that, and another to do it and stick to it. Ensuring that our goals come to fruition is no easy task, but I believe that we’re all more than capable of pulling it off! Here are a few things to think about to help us keep our resolutions for the year:
Before we get into tips, I suggest reflecting on previous years that we’ve tried to set a resolution. Did we set any that have stuck? Have we had any that didn’t? What did we do differently then? What set us up for success? What primed us for failure? What can we do differently aside from these tips below?
Now, let’s take a look at some ways to help us keep this year’s resolutions…
Make Sure it is Achievable
When we set resolutions, I recommend thinking of them as goals. At YCNS, we have two different models for goal setting that we really like - SMART goals and HARD goals.
Most of us have heard about SMART goals. The SMART framework is great for things you want to accomplish in a shorter time frame, like a few months or a year. To make an effective SMART goal for ourselves, there are five things to consider:
Specific: Define specific results and provide concrete details on what I will achieve.
Measurable: Defined measurements will show quantified progress.
Attainable: Goals should be challenging and go beyond my day-to-day duties, yet still be achievable.
Relevant: Goals should tie to what matters for me.
Time-Based: Time creates a framework to start, end, and measure in between.
HARD goals are great for longer term development goals. This kind of goal helps us lay out how we’ll get to our endpoint and what it will look like in one year, three years, five years, and so on.
Heartfelt - Describe at least three reasons why I want it.
Animated – Describe what it looks like in one year. Three years. Five years.
Required - What do I need to accomplish in the next 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, to achieve it? What’s one thing I can accomplish today?
Difficult - What are the three to five most important skills I’ll need to develop to achieve it? How will I develop those skills?
Make it Fun…
…and keep things flexible! If our new habit isn’t fun, then we’re less likely to keep pursuing it! If the resolution isn’t inherently fun, set up milestones to pause and celebrate success! As we’ve learned from the change process and project management, it’s important to celebrate when we reach milestones! And if it can be fun, keep it fun! Making our tasks enjoyable for ourselves makes them feel less like tasks. And what I recommend the most: be flexible! Let’s not beat ourselves up if we slip. It takes time to learn new habits! Remember, a mistake is not a failure unless we don’t learn from it.
I hope that these suggestions can help you with your reflection, and with your resolutions this upcoming year! The New Year is a time for new beginnings - not endings - and it gives us all a chance to begin fresh, with a strong foot forward towards our new goals. How about you? Will you continue goals from last year for continuous improvement? Or will you create new goals? How will you keep those goals? Good luck, and Happy New Year!