Resolve to Make Better Resolutions

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. — Oprah Winfrey


It’s that time of year again! New Year’s resolutions give you a chance to set goals for the year ahead, but some are destined to become a source of frustration or even comedy material for family dinners during the next holiday season.

It’s great to set goals, but doing it the right way is important.

Here, take a look:

“I should lose a lot of weight.”

This resolution is a perennial favorite, and it is probably one that people break the most often. One reason is that as stated this goal is too vague. Try setting a more realistic standard for this resolution: try rephrasing it to 0.2 kilograms/.5 pounds per week. Also, it’s worth remembering that results show up differently in different body types, so know your body and don’t get frustrated. Goals based on concrete, realistic, and measurable results are more effective.

“Find a new lover.”

The problem is not this New Year’s resolution per se but the fact that you need a partner to feel good about yourself can be worrisome. Who cares if you are single? The other problem is that this resolution relies on someone else to make it successful. A better goal would be join more social groups, get out of the house more, start a new hobby, etc. In other words: resolve to open up your life to someone new.

“I should save a lot of money.”

Just like losing weight, this is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions and also one of the resolutions that is broken the most. Part of why this New Year’s resolution is broken quickly is it doesn’t include a clear idea of how that savings will happen. Will it be from working more hours? If so, where and how? Will it come from spending less? What will you cut back on? For how long? Do your spouse and children agree on the new budget?

“I will forget my ex.”

Making this promise to yourself is likely unrealistic since if you weren’t having problems forgetting your ex, you wouldn’t have to make the resolution. Instead, think in terms of not calling him or her as much, not following their social media feeds, and not letting your mind dwell on them. Create a ritual that allows you to focus on something else when your thoughts turn to what might have been. Trust that time will heal you, and resolve to take small steps everyday to move in the right direction. A dear friend once shared an amazing affirmation with me: “Everyday in every way, I’m getting better and better.” Try it.

“I will get more organized.”

Again, the devil is in the details. How will you get more organized? What steps will you take? And in what areas? Do you want your desk to be more organized? Do you want to keep your computer or phone more organized? Do you want to clean out your closets (and keep them clean)? What, where, when, and how will you be more organized?

Do you have any advice on how to make effective resolutions? Please share them in the comments below.


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