How do you feel about New Year’s resolutions? These days there’s a lot of noise about how many of us abandon our goals just a few months into the new year, but if you’re looking to make shifts in your life, resolutions and goals can play a major role in your success. Research has shown that people who set New Year’s resolutions are 10 times more likely to make behavior changes than people who don’t. We’re cutting through the noise and sharing an intentional process that will help you establish goals you’ll actually stick to!
Take some time to journal about the past year. It might be helpful to think in categories, such as: personal, professional, and relational. What worked for you in 2021? What didn’t work? What are you most proud of? How do you want next year to be different? Where do you want to see yourself at the end of 2022? Let your thoughts flow and make lists without overthinking it. In the next step, you’ll hone this information into concrete goals.
Selecting the resolutions that are right for you can be tricky. It’s important not to name too many resolutions, and to form your resolutions in a way that will make them easier to track and achieve. Based on your reflection and journaling, select 1-3 ideas that you want to convert into resolutions for 2022. To convert your general ideas into effective resolutions or goals, try using the decades-old acronym SMART to guide you.
SPECIFIC: Make your resolution as specific and concrete as possible. For example, instead of I want to meditate more, try I want to meditate for 10 minutes 3 times a week.
MEASURABLE: Track your behaviors. Log your progress in a journal or on an app to reinforce the changes you’re making, to monitor your success, and to know when you may need to tweak your goals.
ACHIEVABLE: Select resolutions that you feel confident you can achieve. Your goals should challenge you, but they shouldn’t be totally overwhelming or daunting. For example, the resolution I’m going to exercise for 1 hour 7 days a week may be unrealistic. You could try starting with I’m going to exercise for 30 minutes 5 days a week, and increase the duration and frequency of your exercise as you become more accustomed to the habit.
RELEVANT: Resist the urge to make resolutions based on remorse or shame about a choice you’ve made. Similarly, don’t make goals just because it’s what everyone else seems to be doing. The resolutions that you’ll stick with are the ones that you know will make a positive shift in your life for the long-term.
TIME-BOUND: Consider working towards smaller mini-goals within your overall resolution to ensure you’re making gradual progress. As you’re forming your resolutions, go ahead and plan these milestones throughout the year, and then put reminders on your calendar to assess your progress at regular intervals.
3. Be Prepared for Obstacles
Obstacles and challenges are a natural part of daily life. Do your best to anticipate what your setbacks might look like and decide now that you won’t throw your hands up and abandon your goals. Rather, plan to get back on track as soon as you can. List out obstacles that might get in the way of you achieving your resolution and then strategize how to address those obstacles should they arise.
With these tips in mind, we encourage you to prioritize your mental health and overall well-being as you form resolutions and goals for the year ahead. Remember to focus on small shifts that make a big impact, and once you’ve settled on your resolutions, be sure to communicate them to your family and friends. Enlisting the support of your community allows you to create a built-in network of accountability, and I don’t know about you, but I think we can all use a little bit more of that 😉
Good luck and happy goal setting!