Hey!! It’s that time of the year again when we take our pen and paper out and scribble those new year’s resolution. And honestly, who doesn’t want to change? Who doesn’t want to become a better version of one’s self? Who doesn’t want to leave all those nega-vibes as the year ends? I’d say no one. Everybody wants to change, to be better, to be able to leave all those bad stuffs as the year ends and start anew in the coming year. That’s why we always, and I say always, have our new year’s resolution – a list of never ending stuffs we want to achieve or change in the coming year.
I, myself, am guilty of this one. We look back at how we have created happy memories and how we have spent the previous year. And behind those “Ahhh! This year has been great” is a tinge of guilt of those things that we would want to change yet we fail to keep up. There is nothing wrong with making these common New Year’s resolutions. Of course, most of us make resolutions that but sadly, we fail to keep them. But why is it so difficult to stick to our new year’s resolution? Why is it so hard to change? Why is it that the resolve to change and to be better is only strong at the start of the year and eventually fades and dies as the days pass by? These is only one answer. We always set resolutions that are too general if not vague. We write something like: 1) lose weight 2) stop smoking 3) reduce drinking 4) get out of debt, among others. But you see, these resolution are too general. So how do we make our New Year’s resolution into something that we can stick to until the end of the year? Here’s how.
1. Create a list
Everything starts with the list. The New Year’s resolution list. Create a list and make sure to write it in your phone, in your daily planner or journal, or stick it in your computer screen. Wherever you want to place it will do as long as you will be able to see it as often as possible This will remind you of this year’s goal. When I was still working is an office, I usually write my New Year’s goals at the back of my new planner as well as in my personal computer. And whenever I scan through my files or in my planner, I get to read it. This reminds me of my resolutions and plans for the entire year. You can also make a list in the reminders app in your phone. There are also apps for Apple and Android, to-do list apps that are available for smart phones that you can also use. This will make your list handy and always available for your review anytime anywhere.
2. Determine objective for each item on the list
This is the most important part of the list. Once you have the list, you must make your objectives quantifiable so that it would be easy to assess. For example, when you have “I want to save” on your list, you can make your goal to be “Save $250.00 per month” or “have a savings of $10,000.00 at the end of 2015”. Another example is “lose weight”. You can make it quantifiable by determining your current weight and set the objective to “lose 50 lbs” or “have a weight of 110 lbs from 130lbs”. That way, you can always assess where you are in your goals and therefore be able to push yourself if you are lagging behind.
3. Create monthly action plans
Now that you have made quantifiable objectives to your goals, you can narrow it down to monthly goals or step-by-step action plans. These are list of things that you can do to achieve your quantifiable objective. For example, to “save 10,000.00 at the end of the year” you need to determine how much you want to save per month. With that in mind, you need to save about $800-1000 per month. With the action plans, you can now determine if your goals/New Year’s resolution is achievable. Yes! This is also the reason why we cannot keep up with our new year’s goals because they are either unattainable or just too impossible. If you are earning roughly $2,000.00 per month and you want to save half of it, you must also try to see if you can survive with just $1,000 for rent, insurance, utility bills, food, fuel, etc. Be realistic with your goals. Step 3 will also give you a narrow picture of the things that you need to do in order to get your result. If your primary job won’t suffice but you still want to stick with you goal of saving that much, then your next step is to find a second job that would cover the rest of your expenses.
4. Assess monthly goals
This is where we always fail with our goals. We are so eager to write down our New Year’s resolution but at the end of January, we already forget about them. Set a reminder (your smart phone can do this for you) to assess and evaluate where you are with your goals. Your quantifiable objectives will make assessing and evaluating easier. You planned to lose 10 lbs per month, go to the weighing scale and check if you’ve shed any pounds from your body or grab that tape measure and take your waistline’s measurement to see if you’ve narrowed an inch. This step would also remind you of your goals and bring back that burning desire to change that you once have at the start of the year. And I tell you, it feels great to finally tick that one item off your list because you have exerted more effort in achieving it.
5. Reward yourself
Once you’ve assessed everything, it’s about time that you should also reward yourself. You’ve saved $500 instead of the goal of just $250? Go and spend $50 of that savings to treat yourself with a new pair of runners. You’ve lose 20 lbs for this month? Why not pamper yourself with a soothing massage? I believe in the carrot and stick method of motivation where you get a treat when you’ve achieved your goals or you received a beating from yourself if your lagging behind. You haven’t attain you 10-pound goal for this month? This means you need to watch more closely to your diet or go extra trips to the gym for the next month or extend a few ours more on your next gym visit. Or you can plan specific rewards at the end of every goal. You wanted to lose 50lbs for that pair of bathing suit that you wanted to wear for the summer? So if you’ve achieved your goal, you can always pamper yourself with an extra summer escapade wearing that fabulous bathing suit you’ve always wanted to flaunt.
You see, it’s never wrong to have that New Year’s resolution or to wish that the coming year will be better. We always have a new year because it is a reminder that we can always change and become a better version of ourselves. All we need to do is to be more realistic with these goals. Because in the end, it will be ourselves that will enjoy the rewards and fruits of these changes. Have you written your New Year’s resolution yet? You better grab those pens and paper and start scribbling.
May you have a very blessed and fruitful 2015.