The end of one year and the beginning of another has always been a time for reflecting on all that has taken place during the year about to end and for looking forward to the coming year. It’s a time when we ponder adjustments and make our resolutions for the New Year.
As poet Edith Lovejoy Pierce so eloquently stated: “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
Over the years, I have come to realize that what each New Year brings depends a great deal upon what we bring to the New Year. So, I, like so many others, make resolutions for each New Year.
A Good Thing
Making resolutions is a good thing. Research indicates that making promises to one’s self means we are thinking about reaching an objective.
Furthermore, research shows that people who make explicit resolutions and write them down are more successful in attaining their stated goals than those who merely think about goals. A reason for this is that once something is written down, it becomes tangible and we are less likely to forget about it.
But even with the best of intentions, old habits are hard to break, and change is difficult. Consequently, we often don’t keep those promises to ourselves.
What’s more, we tend to imagine what we’d like to do but we don’t have a plan for doing it.
To help me be more effective at keeping my New Year’s resolutions I have taken to goal-setting. Over time, I have come to realize that this is important to getting things done because setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation.
Goals also provide a benchmark against which you can gauge your progress.
Here is my approach to goal-setting. First, I decide upon specific goals and why I want to achieve them.
Second, I make sure my goals are really important to me, and that they are realistic and achievable.
Third, I post my goals in a location where I will see them on a regular basis.
Doing all this helps to keep me motivated.
Fourth, I devise a plan to accomplish my goals. This plan includes establishing concrete criteria for measuring progress toward each goal.
From experience, I have discovered that it is best if I select goals that can be easily measured and quantified.
Fourth, I set a timeframe that includes a target date, plus frequencies for specific action steps that are important for achieving the goal. By doing this, I have tangible evidence of how I am doing.
I reward myself for achieving success because recognition is a good motivator.
If I am not making progress, I adjust my action steps. There is nothing wrong with revising a resolution at any time.
Consider the words of Henry Ford, who noted: “Failure is nothing more than the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”
Top Five Resolutions
Here are my top five resolutions for this New Year:
5. Learn to take better advantage of technology to get more organized and make better use of my time.
4. Continue to learn and develop new skills.
3. Pay greater attention to my health and well-being.
2. Spend more quality time with family and friends.
1. Enjoy life more.
I will close with something my dear father shared with me many years ago. He told me: “The end of a year is neither an end nor a beginning. Rather, it is a going on with the wisdom and intelligence that comes from experience.”
May you do well in keeping your New Year resolutions, whatever they may be.
Best wishes for a year filled with only good things, especially good health and happiness.