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Foolproof resolutions

Photo: Nicole PaulieIt’s a new year, so yes indeed, it’s resolution time. Almost all of us make them. Some of us keep them, and some of us don’t.

Reflect

Just because everyone else is making resolutions doesn’t mean you have to. But, if there are things you want to change, there are things to make those resolutions more successful. Find a time where you can sit for 10-15 minutes and reflect about where you are. Picture yourself being content and happy; does that person look different than you do now?

Write it down

Take another 10 minutes or so and just write down the thoughts about what you want to change. Avoid letting it become a to-do list. Include the ideas, and the thoughts and emotions associated with those ideas. Writing your ideas and thoughts down increase the likelihood that you will follow through with your goals.

Be S.M.A.R.T.

Once you’ve decided the changes you want to make, it’s a bit business-speak, but no harm in making the goals SMART.

  • Specific: Take the general ideas and make them more specific. What do you want to accomplish? For example a resolution like, “be healthier” is too vague (although on most people’s list). Try defining what it means to you to be healthy, what specifically about your health do you want to improve?
  • Measureable: Once you’ve broken your goals down into something specific, try to identify how to measure it. Recognise how to know when you’ve reached your goals, and what it will take to get there.
  • Attainable: Make sure your goals are attainable. Can your goal or resolution be broken down to an even smaller chunk? For example, instead of, “I want to save 1000 euro for an upcoming trip,” try breaking it down to how much money you would need to save each week. How will you save this money? Will you go out less, or make sure to make your own lunches? Once you determine how much you want to save each week, how long will it take you to save the 1000 euros?
  • Realistic and relevant: How is this goal relevant to you? How will it improve your life? Does it seem worthwhile? Is this the right time to work towards this goal? Does it help you to meet other needs or desires?
  • Timed: Make a (realistic) deadline for yourself. Organise the activities needed to reach your goal. Are there steps to break it down? Identify what things you can start now, and what things you will need to start down the road.

Get going!

Identifying and making new goals energises us to get motivated. There are stages we all go through when trying to change our behaviour and knowing what these are helps, as we all need to try a few times. 

Good luck! 

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