15 Feb

New Year’s Resolutions

“A year from now you will wish you had started today” – By Karen Lamb

This quote applies to many situations, no matter when and where you start, but it’s a great one to use at the beginning of a new year when we’re trying to determine what our goals are going to be for 2016.  What do we want to change? To improve upon?

The first step is to reflect upon the past year.  What were your highlights of 2015?  What was your greatest lesson learned?  The hardest thing you had to do this year?  Your favorite memory?  Your greatest accomplishment?  Each year is going to be different as each year brings us a new set of opportunities and adventures, a new set of twists and turns.  Some years are going to be more difficult than others.  Some years are going to bring more new growth.  Reminisce, reflect and document the past year, it’s important to learn from the past.  Going forward what do you want to change?  They can be simple goals or great big grandiose goals or some of each.  Write them down.

There are many different ways that you can document what you want to change.  Each requires some thought, some reflection, some soul searching.  Here’s one way to get started.

My ONE WORD for 2016 is:

What I really WANT in 2016 is:

What I really NEED in 2016 is:

What I will SHARE in 2016 is:

In 2016 I will succeed at:

Each year your One Word is going to be different.  This year it might be SIMPLIFY.  In order to get to the next step, you might need to declutter.  This is the year to get rid of the things in your life that are holding you back from moving forward.  Maybe it’s WRITE.  This is the year that you’re going to write down your life stories, letters to loved one or send birthday cards with notes in them.  You’re going to keep a daily one sentence journal.

Here’s another way to approach your New Year’s Resolutions.

A bad habit I’m going to break:

A new skill I’d like to learn:

A person I hope to be more like:

A good deed I’m going to do:

A place I’d like to visit:

A book I’d like to read:

A letter I’m going to write:

I’m going to work harder at:

A project I’d like to finish:

A new food I’d like to try:

Whatever you are striving for in 2016, here’s five tips to help you keep your resolutions.

  1. Tell your friends and family about your goals.
  2. Get a friend (or lots of friends) involved.
  3. Write everything down – your goals, your action plan, your progress, how you’re feeling, etc.
  4. Planning ahead will help you stay on track and make your goals.
  5. Reward yourself for ‘good behavior’ with things that will help you relax.

You can have one main goal for the whole year or many small goals.  Write down each goal, determine your action plan, what needs to be done ASAP, short term plans, long term plans, and action steps.

Lao Tzu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. Take the first step, it’s the most important one.

You can make a list of things that you want to do LESS and things that you want to do MORE.  It might include do LESS talking and MORE listening, LESS complaining and MORE encouraging, LESS ungratefulness and MORE gratitude.  It might be a list that says I WILL and I WILL NOT.  I WILL stand up for myself and I WILL NOT make excuses or I WILL ignore the criticisms of others and I WILL NOT let the opinions of others dictate my actions.

Another way to accomplish your New Year’s Resolution is to set a new goal each month like Gretchen Rubin did in her book ‘The Happiness Project’.  The first stage is the preparation stage, when you identify what brings you joy, satisfaction and engagement and also what brings you guilt, anger, boredom, and remorse.  Second is the making of resolutions, when you identify the concrete actions that will boost your happiness.  Third, keeping your resolutions.  In June she wanted to make time for friends so friendship was her main goal.  Remember birthdays, be generous, show up, don’t gossip and make three new friends were some of the ways she identified that would help her reach her goal.

One year. Twelve months. Fifty two weeks. Three hundred & sixty-five days. Eight thousand seven hundred & sixty six hours. Five hundred twenty five thousand & six hundred minutes. Make Them Count in 2016. Celebrate the gift of today, the opportunity to change, the opportunity to make a difference.

Published in The Eau Claire Journal ~ January 2016

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