1. You set a realistic goal for yourself.
Let’s start off with the easy one: Making a New Year’s resolution allows you to focus on a goal. It makes you admit to yourself that there is a) something you really, really want, and b) a seed somewhere deep inside of you that’s already been planted–you wouldn’t have the desire to change if it hadn’t–and pursuing the goal will allow it to grow.
Unfortunately, making resolutions is an abstract concept to some people. If you’re a person who sets goals regularly,this might seem to you, but it’s true. Not all people love goal-making and forcing change upon their lives. That’s why it’s important to visualize your goal–and keep it realistic. Picture it clearly and be able to define it in one actionable sentence. Examples:
- I will incorporate more vegetables into my meals.
- I will make home-cooked food at least three times a week.
- I will save two thousand dollars by the end of December.
- I will make some time for myself by blocking out an hour massage two times a month.
- I will increase my company profits by 30%.
These are all positive, affirmative, and confident statements. The goal is clearly defined, and it’s easy to imagine yourself being successful in your pursuit because you’ve been realistic. So whether you’re the type who looks forward to setting goals or you’ve avoided them your entire life, you’ll have a much better chance of enjoying success if you follow these tips!
2. Starting from a clean slate feels great.
Maybe you’ve been setting goals for yourself for years and felt like you’ve come up short. Maybe you’ve had a terrible year and just want to hide in a hole and recuperate. Or maybe you’re not feeling particularly inspired to make a resolution because you find them boring, pointless, or otherwise marginally effective.
Yes, that’s right: That’s okay.
But here’s something you might want to consider: Now is a great time to clear your head and create the atmosphere of newness.
Newness is a great feeling. It makes you feel fifty pounds lighter. It scrubs your mind of lingering doubts and fears. It creates the perfect setting for you to think clearly and create room for yourself to grow.
Even if you’re the most pessimistic person around, you can appreciate a nice clean feeling. If you imagine the new year as a way to scrub the residue from last year, you might be more receptive to making resolutions. Examples:
- Scrap the one hundred projects you’ve started but will never finish. Choose one thing you’d like to salvage and focus on that.
- Clean out your inbox. You probably underestimate how great this feels until you’ve actually done it. (It’s wonderful.)
- Organize your office and get rid of any old papers and files you just don’t need anymore.
- Remember that time you messed up the report and felt like a total idiot? Let it go. Study up on how to better prepare reports so you’ll ace it next time.
- Trying to salvage a floundering social media project? Dump it. Start over and try new things. Take a few risks. It’s a brand new start!
3. Overcoming challenges gives you pride.
Maybe you’re the kind of person who feels very small in day-to-day life. Perhaps you’re at a job where you feel unimportant, or you have failed to “lose the weight” or “be more mindful” many times over and just don’t think you can make any real changes in your life. Chances are, you’re feeling kind of cynical about resolutions.
They don’t work. I’ll just fail. Everyone makes these dumb promises and ends up breaking them anyway.
But that’s just the thing: This is something you choose to do. You choose to dedicate yourself to your goals. You might slip up, but that’s no reason to quit altogether. You don’t have to be perfect! Take this opportunity to view a resolution as a challenge–one that will give you a great sense of pride if you reach it. Examples could be:
- Run your first marathon. Start lifting weights. Learn how to swim better.
- Start doing freelance work on the side, so you can bolster your resume and set yourself on track to reach your business goals.
- Learn how to play an instrument, how to salsa dance, or how to grow a garden in an urban area. Do you have to be a master to enjoy learning? Of course not–everyone has to start somewhere.
- Has someone told you you’re too stubborn? Too negative? Study up on how to see the silver linings in things.
- Face a fear you’ve always had. Speaking in public, looking silly while trying new things, or flying across the country–you can work step by step to overcome these obstacles. It’s immensely rewarding!
4. You can put a bad year behind you.
Alright, you. You know who you are. You’ve had a terrible 2014 and you’re over it. You want to forget about it already.
Hey, we’ve all been there. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. But that’s actually all the more reason to make a resolution!
A problem many people have (particularly entrepreneurs and small business owners!) is that they just can’t let the past go. Whether your business venture was a bust or you had to make some difficult personal choices, it’s hard not to wonder what could have been had you chosen differently. But there’s honestly no point in that.
You can take this chance to put your bad year behind you and look forward to progress. Examples:
- Made a rough personal choice? View it as reinforcing your armor. This makes you stronger so you can perform better in other areas of your life and make a better future for yourself.
- Did you have a terrible year at your company–even had to shut your business down? It’s terribly difficult. But as trite as it might sound, you can take this opportunity to look at what you’ve learned, what you’d do differently next time.
- Feeling upset with your job? Dedicate some time to looking for something that suits your needs. Feel like you need more skills? Enroll in an online class, take a MOOC, or find a community class to enroll in.
5. Next year at this time, you’ll thank yourself.
Sometimes it helps to project forward in time. If you’d started your goal a year ago, where do you think you’d be now? More than likely, you’d be happy that you had done so much work! Wouldn’t you like to enjoy that feeling next year? Of course you would. You can start today and prepare for a big pat on the back from your future self.
If you need some numbers or any other inspiration, here are some examples:
- Do you want to lose weight? Imagine if you lost a pound a week for the next fifty-two weeks. 52 pounds lighter! Wow. Now that’s a noticeable difference!
- Do you want to save money? Check out this nifty savings plan–by the end of the year you’ll be $1378 richer.
- Are you aiming to grow your company’s social media following? Start by aiming for a new follower every day. That’s 365 followers this year–and who knows, once you gain some traction, you might even start gaining more without having to put forth more effort.
6. Punch fear in the face.
If you make a resolution, you might fail. That’s a realistic thing that could happen.
But how do you know if you don’t try? If you never take a risk, you’ll never know just how much you’re capable of. So if you’re afraid of failure (and let’s face it, most of us are), suck it up and punch fear in the face. Tell it to back off and stop bullying you. It’s taken control of your progress for far too long–and what better time than now to put your foot down and tell it to get lost?
Mantras you could repeat to get that confidence you will need:
- “I’ve spent X years wanting this. I won’t spend any more.”
- “What’s the worst that could happen. I could fail. So what? Then I pick myself up and I try again, or I learn from it and move on.”
- “Fear is what holds back many great thinkers, artists, and entrepreneurs. I won’t let myself be among that group any longer.”
- “What will I tell myself when I’m older if I never tried? I will regret never taking a chance on myself.”
- “Fear is stupid and I’m going to punch it in the face.”
7. Refine your personal values.
If you’ve had a rough year or been busy with work, school, family, or life in general, you might be feeling burned out right now. Lots of people suffer from stress, and as such, they lose track of what’s really important to them.
What’s important to you might be completely valueless to someone else. For example, you might enjoy working on writing music outside of work, but your boss would rather have you spending more time following up with clients. Alternatively, you might be a small business owner trying hard to get the company growing, but employees aren’t matching your enthusiasm. When you’re unable to fulfill that undeniable need to engage with activities and people that you value, you become stressed and anxious, and eventually your health and well-being suffer.
Put a stop to that in 2015. Tell yourself:
- I really value X. How can I arrange my schedule so that I get to enjoy a bit of X every day?
- Which part of my day makes me the happiest? What does that tell me about my health and happiness?
- How can I get others excited about my vision? Am I being realistic with my friends and family, or am I pressuring them too hard?
- Which runs my life right now: My values or my obligations? How can I better balance these two things?
8. Surround yourself with things that bolster you.
When you go to work, what does your desk/cubicle/office look like? Are you sitting around a bunch of drab boxes and file cabinets? Or are you able to put up a few pictures or even bring in a little plant?
When you’re at home, do you have a space that is instantly comfortable and relaxing? Do you flop on the couch and never move or do you have something else in your routine that energizes you?
These kinds of things are really important to your mental health and general well-being. A person needs to have a space where he or she can relax completely. A person also needs to be able to feel comfortable and welcome in his or her workspace. If you don’t create these little sanctuaries, it can be difficult to unplug from the chaos of the day.
Here are some things you could try:
9. Take a leap of faith.
Perhaps you have read through this entire list and you can’t find a single thing that would entice you to try to make a resolution. Maybe you can’t find it to believe in yourself. Maybe you’re just tired of this happy-poppy-bubblegum idea of positive change being the solution to everything in your life.
Okay, that’s fair.
But what if you took a leap of faith?
What if, just to see what happened, you tried something crazy and completely new? Something that you know would make you happy if you were to succeed?
You can place your faith in your deity of choice or have faith in yourself and those around you. Wherever your faith comes from, place trust in that and push forward.
- Want to start your own business? Read up on it. Talk to as many experts as you can. Believe that you can be like them.
- Want to lose weight? Look at all the people who have turned their lives around by getting fit. It doesn’t only serve them, and it’s not all “shallow” or “vain”–it impacts health long-term, which affects family and friends. Believe that this helps everyone in your life.
- Thinking of writing a book, playing in a band, directing your debut film, or learning to dance? Take a class. Network with other creatives and start blogging. Believe that you can do it when you have the support of the creative community.
- Want to do something daring like skydive or speak on television? Figure out ways to do it. Believe that you can overcome your fears and do something that will make you feel proud and powerful.
10. Bring happiness to others around you.
If nothing else, remember:
You have the power to make those around you happy or miserable. One human being can be capable of having a surprisingly profound effect on others. You can learn a new skill, spend more time with your family, work harder to get that promotion, or save up to take the soul-searching trip of a lifetime. All of these things have potential to do good for others. Make sure that whatever you do, even the smallest things, bring joy to yourself and to others, and you’ll fulfill the best resolution of all!
Happy new year, marketers, small business owners, readers, and those who just stumbled by. We look forward to bringing you more articles about our specialty soon: SEO, Marketing, and Social Media!
In the meantime, take these tips and apply them to your home, business, and personal life. You should make a resolution this year. We did!
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