A new year provides a time for us to reflect upon the past and plan for the future. You don’t have to wait for a new year to plan for the future. Throughout the year reflect on the goal you set earlier. But don’t get so caught up in the past that you forget to move forward enjoying the present.
How will you approach this year? Will you decide to set a resolution for the year? Will you opt for setting a goal? Will you choose to let each day take care of itself?
Often New Year’s resolutions are related to health. This year, consider thinking about a goal related to healthy relationships with family, friends, work colleagues, as well as, civility in your daily interactions with others.
Resolutions can be set without much thought and planning. Sometimes we wish for instant change or for others to change. It’s worth investing time in thoughtful reflection before setting your goal.
Here are some things to consider:
• Reflect about both the highlights and the low points of the past. Don’t stress out over them. Use this time of self-reflection to help you move forward to create your goals. Don’t get stuck on the negative things that happened. If you find you are stuck, talk to someone who can help you move forward.
• If there was something you wanted to do last year but didn’t, take a few minutes to consider how you could look at this differently in order to accomplish your goal. How might you need to revise the goal? Or is it something you should leave behind?
• Concentrate on what you can do. We fool ourselves when we think we can make others change. If you find yourself thinking of what someone else should do, stop and look from a different perspective. Turn it around so that you are looking at changes that you could make.
• Pick a worthwhile but realistic goal. Your goal needs to become more than a dream. Set yourself up for success rather than failure.
• Think about the steps you will need to follow to accomplish this goal. What will help you be successful? Take time to restate your goal. It can be helpful to actually say your goal aloud.
• Set goals with details that help you know when and how you plan to accomplish them.
• Concentrate on the positive. Celebrate small successes along the way to the attainment of your goal.
• Be flexible. If you find you are having trouble keeping the goal you set, consider revising it now instead of waiting until next year.
• What will help you keep your resolution? Thinking this through now can help you be more successful. Do you need to tell someone what you have decided to do and ask for their encouragement? Will writing your goal down and putting it where you see it each day be helpful to you? There is not just one way, everyone is different as to what might be most helpful to them.
Most of all remember it is your resolution/goal, so you can make changes as needed along the way in order to be able to achieve the results you want.
Norcross, J. C., Mrykalo, M. S. and Blagys, M. D. (2002), Auld lang Syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year’s resolvers and nonresolvers. J. Clin. Psychol., 58: 397–405. doi: 10.1002/jclp.1151
Written by: Pat Holmes, CFCS, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension
Reviewed by: Kathy Oliver, CFCS, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension