It’s that time of year again. It’s a new year and the time when most people set New Year’s resolutions. It’s so easy to go into a new year optimistic wanting to become the very best version of yourself.
But year after year, I’d set a resolution or two, and after a few weeks, I was back to my old ways. By February, I would be beating myself up because of the unrealistic goals I had placed upon myself. So I stopped setting New Year’s resolutions. Below are three things I do instead:
Determine a Word of the Year
Each year, I set a word for the year to intentionally guide me through the next 12 months. The word typically stems from an area in which I’d like to grow, whether that’s mentally, financially, personally, or spiritually.
I’ve found that determining a word of the year allows for flexibility, keeps me on track towards reaching my goals, and helps me set realistic expectations for myself. Simply put, it helps keep me accountable and make decisions for myself that align with the bigger vision I have set for my life.
Create Healthy Habits
Creating new habits sets me up for success for the entire year and helps me not to put unnecessary pressure on myself. By following this method, I’ve become more aware of things I’m doing on a daily basis that don’t align with my values. It’s also helped me determine how I can make adjustments and move toward the life I want to live.
For example, in the past, I would set a New Year’s resolution to stop eating sweets for the year. By week two, I would end up binging on my favorite candy. Making a habit of limiting my sweets intake to once or twice a week, is much more realistic, and I’ll be more likely to stick to that.
Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
If you really think about it, New Year’s resolutions are basically goals. Most of them involve making huge changes to an area of your life though. Those types of changes require proper planning to be executed thoroughly.
Now, I set S.M.A.R.T. goals, which is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, measurable, and time-bound. Using the same example of limiting sweets I mentioned above, in order for this to be successful, I’d need to determine:
- What this would look like for me.
- When I’d want to achieve this by.
- How I will achieve this.
- How I will measure the success.
So, while limiting the number of sweets I intake is possible, I’d be less likely to achieve this just because the year on the calendar changed. I’d actually need to put a plan in place in order to successfully meet this goal.
Careful thought and planning do not typically come with setting New Year’s resolutions. I’ve learned through the years that was the key to my success, so I’ve ditched setting resolutions for good. Being more intentional has helped bring me closer to the overall vision I’ve set for myself both personally and professionally.
Do you set New Year’s resolutions, or do you follow an approach similar to the one I take? I’d love to hear your thoughts.