Making a New Year's Resolution is a common modern tradition, but did you know that the history of the practice can be traced all the way back to the Babylonians in 2000 B.C.? The Romans adopted the practice from there and it continued on through today. The types of resolutions people make have certainly changed over time - this article shows how resolutions in the United States have shifted in the last century - but in general, setting goals at the New Year is still a common practice.
Making a resolution feels like the easy part, but being able to achieve your goal can be largely dependent on how you set your goal to start. Here are some tips to help you make an achievable resolution and set yourself up to keep it in 2023.
1. Don't make too many resolutions.
While you might have many goals in mind for the New Year, narrow them down to just one resolution. Taking on too many goals at once can be difficult, so it's better to choose one goal and focus on it. Achieving that goal can inspire you to tackle another once you've got the first one checked off your list. This concept is one that has other applications, too. Check out this article for more info.
2. Use the SMART goal framework to make your resolution.
Setting SMART goals is a common practice in corporate America, but the same idea can easily translate to your personal goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based. These concepts when combined can help you to frame a goal that is measurable, clear and planned - all important factors to helping you keep your resolution. Click here to read more.
3. Plan ahead.
Once you've made your goal, make a plan on what you'll do to achieve it. The positive impact this planning stage can have on whether you achieve your goal is backed up by research. Start by brainstorming why you want to achieve the goal, steps you can take to move toward it, and how you'll keep yourself accountable throughout the process. Be sure to note what challenges you might face during the process, and how you might overcome them.
4. Take small steps and track your progress.
Once you've planned, it's time to get started! Work on the small steps you outlined in your planning stage, and track each small step you complete. For tracking, journaling, a white board or a spreadsheet are all great options to monitor your progress. Studies show that making smaller changes over time lead to better habit forming and more goal achievement success.
5. Understand that it takes time to form new habits, and give yourself a break.
Habits aren't formed overnight, so don't be too hard on yourself. It's normal to have an occasional miss in your resolution journey. Give yourself some grace and keep pushing forward!
6. Talk about your resolution and get support.
Telling friends and family about your resolution helps to establish some accountability in the process and keep you motivated. Better yet, try to find a buddy that has the same or similar resolution as you do. Having a support system will go a long way in helping you achieve your goal.
7. Don't give up; re-ignite your motivation instead.
You might find that by February or March, the spark of motivation you had at the start of your resolution journey has faded. Know that this is normal. If it happens to you, refer back to your plan and the reasons why you made the resolution in the first place. Set yourself a short-term micro goal relating to your resolution that you can work toward in a single day. Achieving that goal can help to re-ignite your spark and get you back on track.
Happy New Year, and good luck with your resolutions!
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