How to Set & Keep Your New Years Resolutions
By: Kate McCallum
With the New Year starting, it is common to feel a mix of emotions heading into the unknown. From excitement to anxiety, the New Year offers the gift of a fresh slate - an opportunity to unlearn bad habits and establish new routines. With this foolproof guide to setting (and sticking to) your New Year’s resolutions, the new and improved you will be able to tackle this year with positive momentum.
Critically Reflect on Your Past Year
First and foremost, in order to set meaningful goals for the new year, you must recognize habits or activities that you engaged in this year that negatively contributed to your health and happiness. This may look like a poor sleeping schedule or too much time spent on social media apps. If you can pinpoint a routine that has worsened your well-being, the new year provides a fantastic opportunity to make the necessary changes.
On the other hand, you may look back on the past year and decide that you want to invest more time and energy into areas of your life that had sparked joy, but you did not prioritize. Maybe you enjoyed developing your painting skills during art class, and would like to expand on this interest in art classes outside of school. Avoid being hypercritical of your past year - reflection should be balanced.
Envision your Ideal 2022
After acknowledging the strengths and weaknesses of your current lifestyle, you have the opportunity to envision your ideal future, and notice what changes must be made to achieve this lifestyle. While it is important to be realistic with your aspirations, you will be surprised by the extreme improvements you can achieve through strategic goal setting.
Lay out a Concise List of Goals
Once you have visualized your perfect New Year, and recognized shortfalls of your previous year, it is time to set a short list of meaningful goals for the next year. It is important that you limit yourself to one or a few resolutions, so that you are able to dedicate sufficient effort to fulfilling them. By taking on too many, you risk spreading yourself too thin and ultimately achieving none of your goals. Good goal setters are experts in prioritizing. It is equally important that your goals are achievable and match your capabilities - avoid setting yourself up for disappointment, New Year's resolutions are intended to be fulfilling. Some examples of healthy and attainable New Year’s Resolutions may include;
- Sleeping 8+ hours every night
- Walking your dog every day
- Participating in art classes
- Finishing your homework by 8pm every night
- Making a home cooked meal for your family once a week
- Joining your school’s volleyball team
Share your Resolutions with Friends and Family
Once you have established these resolutions, it can be beneficial to write them down on a piece of paper to remind yourself of your intentions, and subconsciously align your daily habits towards these goals. However, it is often more beneficial to speak your resolutions into existence by sharing them with friends and family. By doing so, you will have a team supporting you throughout the year, and holding you accountable on your path to self-improvement.
Evaluate your Progress
Once the new year has swung into action, you should periodically evaluate your progress to avoid losing sight of your plans for growth. This may involve reviewing the month of January and noticing whether you took the necessary steps to achieve your resolution. This may look like tracking your sleep schedule, or asking family whether you have been consistent in your home cooking endeavors. If you feel yourself falling behind, there is no need to feel defeated. Resolutions are ever-evolving and may need to be tweaked from time to time, in order to suit your capabilities and priorities.
Be Kind to Yourself
Most of all, understand that success is relative to the individual, and that resolutions are designed to be motivating rather than stress-inducing. Despite a growing culture around self-improvement, it is important to practice self-compassion, and recognize that your current lifestyle is more than adequate, and that there is no end goal you must be working towards. Everyone’s goals should be unique to their own values. Stay true to your own desires for your future self, rather than the expectations imposed on you by others. At the end of the day, resolutions are intended to spark excitement for new beginnings. Be kind to yourself, and set goals that are meaningful to you.