New Year’s Resolutions – a beloved tradition when we decide on new habits to practice during this fresh year that are going to make the next year even better that the last.
In an ideal world, we stick to them and make powerful changes. But more often than not, we try for a while and then slip back into our old ways, not thinking about our resolutions again until the next time we try to make them. In fact, a recent study showed that less than 10% of New Year’s resolutions are actually achieved. How can you make this the year you break the cycle?
6 Ways to Set Powerful New Year’s Resolutions
Before setting out to make those resolutions this year, check out these tips that can help you leverage this time of transition to put new habits in place and make meaningful changes in your life.
1. Make time
Carve out a few hours of thinking time. If you have a spouse or partner, schedule time with them. You might even consider doing this as a family. Consider the specifics of your goals – it’s easy to say you’ll spend more time with your family, but a more actionable goal would be to set aside a set amount of time each week to make it happen.
2. Think about your long- and short-term goals.
Start out with a couple of long-term goals and a few short-term goals. The more focused and specific you can be, the better.
Some resolutions can be made quickly, and others take awhile to get going. If your goal is to start a business this year, make a list of specific steps you can take to get started. Maybe one of your short-term goals would be to choose a name for said business.
Short-term goals can help us stay motivated and visualize the finish line. Long-term goals require patience and dedication you can really be proud of.
3. Know your core values
Evaluate these goals in terms of your core values. Are these goals bringing you more of what you value most in life? If not, try to refine your goals so that they are more in line with you core values.
the big question here is why? Why are you cutting out sweets this year? Is it to live a longer and healthier life, thus spending more time with your children? tying your resolutions back to your core values can help you stay motivated when things get tough.
4. Make it meaningful
Select the goal that is most meaningful to you at this time; the goal that you feel most motivated and driven to achieve. Typically, the more in line your goal and your core values, the more driven you will be to work towards achieving that goal.
One mistake people often make is to set several tough goals that just aren’t realistic. Instead, narrow down your least to a few powerful resolutions that really matter to you – you can always tackle the other ones next year!
5. Visualize success
Picture your self achieving that goal, and then think backwards. What did you do right before you achieved that goal? What did you do before that? And so on, until you get to yourself right now.
What habit did you put in place to get you closer to achieving your goal? Eureka – that’s it! The New Year’s resolution you’ll be able to keep (because it’s in line with your goals and values) and will bring about meaningful change in your life.
6. Create a system
Create a system that will help you keep your resolution. Start with writing it down or phoning a friend. Perhaps it’s a tracking system, perhaps it’s an accountability buddy. Perhaps it’s consulting with a financial planner that is equipped with the skillset to help. In fact, we can help you through this entire process here at Clarity.
A game plan for your goals gives you a reference for when you get stuck. It breaks down your goal into small steps to help guide you along the way.
Examples of Powerful Resolutions in Action
Here are a few example scenarios to show you what these six steps look like in action.
Ann and Jeremy
Ann and Jeremy have been creating a vision for their retirement. In that picture they will be very active – traveling extensively and enjoying their grandchildren. Neither of them are have been paying much attention to their health and fitness, so they will need to put in some work to bring themselves closer to this vision.
Ann’s resolution is to consult with a nutritionist to put a plan in place to make sure she is getting the nutrition she needs. Jeremy’s resolution is to set up a standing date to play tennis every Saturday morning with a group of his old team mates.
Ann and Jeremy have realistic goals. They know the “why” behind those goals and how it ties back to their core values. Finally, they’ve put a realistic plan in place to start moving toward their goals.
Emily has been thinking about changing careers. She is living comfortably now but is not sure she could make it with the reduced income while she retools and reestablishes a new career. She sat down with a financial planner to go over what the process might look like:
Working backwards, she realized that the first thing she needs to do is set a budget. Right now, she doesn’t really know much about her current monthly expenses, which makes it difficult to evaluate the trade-offs she would have to make. Which expenses could she do without temporarily? Which ones are essential? Her resolution is to set a budget and track her expenses for three months and then meet again with her planner to analyze how they line up.
These resolutions are likely to lead to success because they are simple, bring Ann, Jeremy and Emily closer to goals that are important to them and include a system of accountability.
So set some time aside to invest in yourself and intentionally set some powerful resolutions for the next year. It might be hard to do during the busy holiday season, but no one said New Year’s resolutions can’t start on January 31st! Or better yet, today!