Let’s make effective New Year’s resolutions

New Year’s Eve is knocking on the door, and here we are, absorbed by the magic of Christmas and New Year, making resolutions to be a healthier, happier or just a better person than the previous year.

If you’re like most of the people, it hasn’t been the first time you defined New Year’s resolutions, and it hasn’t been the first time you failed to keep these resolutions. Why is that?

 

Why wait for New Year’s Eve?

Let’s have a look at one of the main “criticisms” I hear about the New Year’s resolutions: why do you wait for New Year to make resolutions? Why should New Year be a “redefinition” of yourself?

Off course you shouldn’t ONLY wait for New Year’s Eve to define goals to be a better person, but let’s face it, it’s a very special day.

New Year is starting, friends and family are all gathered to celebrate that special moment, so why can’t we use that magical moment as a motivation and inspirational source to be a better/healthier/happier person? Why is this a problem?

Aren’t you happy like you are now? Well yes, I am, but there are always things to improve. We, human, can always grow, that’s what makes it so beautiful, so interesting.

 

Don’t make it too general

Most of the New Year’s resolutions are too general. By defining a too general topic, you don’t explain and think about how you could achieve your resolution. Take the example of “I want to read more”. What does that mean? What is more? How do you plan to read more?

A better way therefore to define a New Year’s resolution would be to be specific and define short milestones that will provide you a quick feedback on how you are doing.

In my example, you could say: I want to read 20 books a year, starting with 1 book the first 4 months and from then on 2 books a month. You can go further and make a list of the first 5 books you want to read, and define how much “pages” you want to read per week.

By being very specific, you take the most crucial step people fail to do: you plan your resolution.

 

Be realistic and not too optimistic

Many of the resolutions are way too optimistic. So whatever you want, make sure it doesn’t ask too much effort from you, otherwise you will not be able to do it a year long.

If you love spending time on YouTube and hate reading, then don’t t make the resolution of reading more. Instead, think about why you want to read more: is it because you want to learn more about human psychology?

Your resolution could then be: “Viewing more instructive YouTube videos on human psychology”. The result would be the same, but you wouldn’t force yourself to do something you hate, and that’s a more realistic resolution.

Finally, if you plan your resolution, you can quickly estimate if your resolution is feasible and be less optimistic if it isn’t the case.

 

My take home message of this week: there’s nothing wrong to use the magical moment of New Year to define new resolutions. Make them, however, realistic and very specific, and try to already plan how you would realise them by defining short milestones (and treat yourself each time you reach your milestones! 😊).

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