Many of us say “Happy New Years” when we actually mean happy New Year. Even though it’s probably slang we actually like the plural. By saying Happy New Years, you’re wishing the person well for ALL the new years that follow midnight 2012 – basically happiness for the rest of their lives! Now that’s quite a wish!
We have the ability to make changes in our lives any day of the year, but New Year’s Eve is traditionally the time to commit to making improvements. What kind of a future do you want? What changes do you need to make to turn your desires into reality? Where do you start? What are the practical first steps you need to take now and what does the long-term plan look like?
Here is a New Year’s resolution toolbox that has helped us keep our resolutions:
1. Achievements. Start by making a list of everything you accomplished last year. Add achievements that were on last year’s list as well as those that weren’t. This simple but effective exercise is proof that you can do it. Pull out this list and review it whenever you need encouragement during the year. There’s nothing like the memory of achievements to build your self-confidence and resolve.
2. Resources. We use a three-ring binder we call our “goal book” as the primary repository for tracking our goals and accomplishments. In it we put our how-to’s and go-to’s. So under each resolution, make a list of information you will require, equipment you will need, and time you need to reserve. Find and read up on the folks you admire who have accomplished your chosen goal. The blogosphere is alive with great resources on every subject, just there for the clicking.
3. Allies. Share appropriate resolutions with carefully selected friends and colleagues. This can be humbling because now you are on record; now you have a witness. This forces you to choose practical, doable goals and not just what might sound good for the New Year’s moment. These allies will provide support because every time you see them you will be reminded of your stated commitment.
4. Rote. Get out a calendar right now and write your resolutions down on the first of every month. That way you will have a timely monthly reminder that you have made a commitment to accomplish your resolution. This will keep it fresh on your mind and encourage you to write down your progress to keep you going. There’s something very deliberate about posting all twelve months now.
5 Reward. Whether it’s a desired behavior, better health, a new skill, your ideal weight, additional education, increased income, house upgrades, a new car or relationship, identify each goal and the milestones you will need to achieve along the way. Then, reward yourself for achieving the major milestones by going out for dinner, taking in a show, or buying a new outfit.
Each of these tools is designed to do one thing, help you keep your resolutions. All the new years ahead start with this next one coming up. So, let’s make resolutions we can keep and build a solid foundation for all the new years ahead.
Over one billion people will be watching the ball drop in Times Square this New Year’s Eve. Let’s resolve that it’s the only ball that is dropped. Here’s wishing you success in all your New Years’ resolutions!