A Guide to New Year’s Resolutions

As January has moved in and a brand new year has begun, everyone around us is making their new year’s resolutions.

While a countless number of people are again vowing to visit the gym more and eat less junk food, this year I am determined to set resolutions that are outside of the box and are ones that I will actually follow, even though they will certainly challenge me.

I have found in the past that it is definitely difficult to follow these resolutions after the first few weeks of initial determination. There always seems to be something that gets in the way – whether it be a lack of time or simply a lack of motivation. However, after following helpful hints, this year will be different.

Here are the best ways to set and follow through with 2013’s new year’s resolutions:

  1. 1.       Resolution vs. Goal – I feel like so many people set their resolutions as a goal. In a way, this is correct, but in another I feel like they are totally different entities. A goal is an end result, for instance, “To lose 20 pounds” is a goal. A resolution, on the other hand, is the way that goal will be reached. “I resolve to go to the gym four times a week every week” would be more of a resolution. In my mind, I like to think of a resolution as the means towards meeting a goal. Think that way when setting your resolutions, this way, at the end of the year it is easier to evaluate your effort towards meeting it. You might not lose 20 pounds, but if you go to the gym at least four times a week, you will not only have followed your yearly promise but have become healthier and fitter.
  2. 2.       Be realistic – just like when you are setting a goal, when making resolutions in the New Year it is important to be realistic. Don’t resolve to do totally unreachable things like, “work out for two hours each day” if you know your schedule will not allow it. You know your life and all your constraints better than anyone else – from time restrictions to emotional, mental, and physical barriers that you will face when working towards meeting resolutions. This is not to say that these vows should not challenge you. They definitely should. However, don’t make them so outlandish and out of reach that they become impossible.
  3. 3.       Set checkpoints – While resolutions are meant to go all year long, that doesn’t mean you can’t and shouldn’t have frequent checkpoints along the way. These checkpoints are a great way to stay motivated, evaluate whether or not the resolution needs to be tweaked, and to be your own cheerleader. For instance, say you resolve to read more for fun throughout the year. Set the first checkpoint to be the end of January, and the rest of the checkpoints for the end of each month to reflect on how many books you’ve read, what were your favorites, and what you’re looking forward to reading in the months to come. Evaluate when your favorite time to read is and the best ways you worked it into your schedule. Finally, pat yourself on the back for a month well done towards a resolution!
  4. 4.       Get excited! – the best way to work well on something is to be excited about it. This applies in my life towards almost anything – school work, internships, even housework. Whenever I’m excited to organize my room or clean out my closet, it goes so much smoother and I work much, much better. Being genuinely excited about the resolutions you set is probably the most important thing to help you follow through with them.
  5. 5.       Make yourself proud – when it comes to resolutions, always keep the end result in mind. Remember how proud of yourself you’ll be when you stick with it. Don’t set resolutions for other people, but for yourself, because your pride and happiness is what matters most at the end of the day, or rather, year.

Sticking to these New Year’s promises is definitely a challenge at some point, but a rewarding one at that. Be mindful of the resolutions you’re making and follow these helpful tips in order to stay true to them throughout the year and be happy with yourself at the end of it.

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