Have you ever wondered why we make New Year’s resolutions? It’s not (only) for gyms to sell more memberships. The history of this holiday tradition dates back to the reign of Julius Cesar when citizens were encouraged to make moral resolutions—for example, to be kinder to one’s neighbors. Today, the custom of making a resolution at the start of the New Year has become a chance for us to commit to achieving a better sense of self. Some of us choose personal resolutions, others professional, others physical. The problem with resolutions, however, is accountability and planning.
We all want to be healthier, happier, more fit, and more successful. Resolutions are outcomes, but they don’t give us a path to get there. So, if you’ve already lost track of your New Year’s resolution this year (don’t worry you’re not alone), make an achievable goal instead. Your goal should be one that can be broken down into measurable and feasible components to ensure you continue to move toward your ultimate intention. Follow our advice below to create obtainable goals in 2020.
- Write Your Goal Down and Keep it Where You Can See It. Post your goal above your desk, stick a post-it-note to your bathroom mirror, or tape it to your nightstand. By keeping your goal where you can see it, you can’t forget to remain committed and accountable.
- Identify the Small Steps Required to Move You Toward Achievement. After you determine your goal, ask yourself what small things you can do daily, weekly, or monthly to make progress for achievement. For example, if you want to pursue a new career opportunity, you may consider setting a monthly goal to complete an educational opportunity—such as taking an online class or reading a book—about your new area of interest. No marked amount of change can be achieved overnight. By identifying small steps that will move you forward, you’ll be more likely to see progress throughout the year, which will keep you committed and motivated.
- Accept Setbacks and Keep Progressing. No one is perfect, and to be successful, you must accept that you may falter along the way to achievement. Perhaps your goal is to quit smoking, but on a bad day in March, after three smoke-free months, you give in to your craving and light up. Put out the cigarette, forgive yourself, and recommit to your smoke-free lifestyle. Taking one step back is never a reason to give up entirely.
- Celebrate Your Successes. Be proud of every milestone you reach on your way to your ultimate goal, whether it is every lost pound, every hour spent learning a new skill, or every time you step out of your comfort zone, and good things happen. By acknowledging your achievements, even if you’re only part way toward your ultimate objective, you’ll be reminded of all the reasons why you set your goal to begin with.
Back in the days of Cesar, we’re certain resolutions were an impactful way for people to improve their lives. Today, however, in a word with so many responsibilities and distractions, we need achievable and measurable goals to help us find success.
From all of us at Horizon, Happy New Year. Here’s to a Healthy, Happy, New You.