The start of a new year is a great time to reflect on where we’ve been and what we’ve accomplished, and establish some new goals for the future. Yet, research shows that a whopping 80% of resolutions will fail by the time February rolls around. The good news is, there are ways you can proactively improve your odds of success. Check out these four types of resolutions from The Dell Center for Therapy that are more likely to stick.
The first area you should focus on when working to improve yourself, your life or your circumstances is self-care. This can include everything from eating healthier and exercising more to getting more sleep and anything else that you may be lacking. There’s a reason why flight crews tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you assist someone else. Caring for your body, mind and soul is what will enable you to have the energy to tackle any of the other goals and resolutions you’ve set for yourself.
Many of the things we want in life are achievable, provided we put in the time and effort. A student knows that studying more will enable him to get better grades. An employee seeking a promotion understands that working harder will improve her chances. Whether your personal resolution happens to be one of these things, or something else, such as saving for a new home, reducing your debt or finally conquering that bad habit, you can increase your likelihood of keeping it by clarifying your objectives and creating a concrete plan of action.
The third type of resolution involves pledging to give more of oneself. There are any number of ways you can accomplish this goal, whether it’s increasing your volunteer work, becoming a mentor, serving on a community organization or even just spending more quality time with friends and family. Again, documenting your intentions can help solidify them. The feeling of satisfaction that comes from serving others can help motivate you to continue your good deeds throughout the New Year and beyond.
Having More Fun
The fourth key resolution category, and one which is most often neglected, involves goals that will enable you to get more enjoyment out of life, whether it’s traveling more, going out with friends more frequently, signing up for that class you’ve always wanted to take or picking up a new hobby. Making these things more of a priority isn’t just fun. It’s an important part of your personal wellness. When people are facing end of life, they rarely recount all of the things they did do. Rather, they often feel regretful because they focus on what they did not do or accomplish.
For any of the above categories to actually work, you’ll need to translate your goals into smaller objectives that are realistic and measurable. For instance, I will exercise 3 times a week, I will put 5% of my paycheck into savings each week, I will take Mom out to breakfast every Saturday, I will go out with friends at least once a month, etc. This will allow you to stay on track as the year goes on.
Is this a magic formula to keep you from becoming another statistic? No. It will still take self-discipline to carry out your resolutions well after the shininess of the New Year has worn off. But by focusing on the four key areas above and being intentional about your motives and your actions, not only will you accomplish what you’ve set out to do, but you’ll also achieve a much more balanced, fulfilling life in the process.