The end of the year is a perfect opportunity to reflect on everything that happened in the last 12 months. All the successes and failures, all the good and bad, all the happiness and sadness. For me, and many others it is also the time to bring up the 12 months old checklist and see how many of our New Year’s Resolutions we managed to fulfill. This is usually followed by taking a blank paper and setting up new goals for the upcoming year. Naturally, on the 1st of January, we are all motivated and determined to do better, to tick more from our ‘to-do/ not-to-do lists’ and to become a better version of ourselves. However, most of the time we lose this level of motivation shortly afterwards and by the end of January, we don’t even remember that such a list exists. For this very reason, I stopped making New Year’s Resolution and became a big critic of this whole stressful habit until I have found out how to go about it.
Every year, driven by my motivation arising from my failures that year and from a panic that I am wasting my life and time by not doing all the great things every year, I would set insanely long list of stuff that I want to do and see next year. At the same time, I would be punishing myself for not being able to tick all these things from my list last year or the year before. Making myself feeling useless and somehow a worse person. Few years ago, I thought for myself why do people do this? After some time, I realised that this process is actually very important. We need to take an advantage of this strong feeling of motivation and not waste it by giving up on new year’s resolutions tradition. At the same time, in order to make the most out of it, it is crucial to do it right. There are many tips on the Internet and everyone has to find out what works for them. Here are 10 tips that work for me:
- Reflect on the year past
As I said above, it is important to reflect on both positives and negatives. However, and I cannot stress this enough, do not beat your self up for the failures. Acknowledge them, analyze why did they happen and how you could do better next time. In other words, turn the negative experience into a positive one by learning from it. By the same token, praise yourself for all the accomplishments no matter how big or small.
I often hear people saying, ‘this year was bad, I can’t wait for the new one to begin’. I think there is no such a thing as a bad year. Every experience, good as well as bad gives you something and moves you forward. Keep this on your mind when reflecting on the year past. Do find at least one positive and one negative thing that happened – trust me, there is at least one of each. Some people prefer to write this down, some prefer to create a collage and share it with friends, some people may do this in their head while watching the NYE fireworks. Whichever way works for you, do it.
- Keep it real
I am a big dreamer (and I am not the only one :D), but when it comes to my NY Resolutions, I am realistic. This is for the very reason that I mentioned above – unrealistic goals won’t be achieved and that will put you down. In practice, this means that I won’t put down that I will read 300 books that year because I know I won’t be able to do it. I would rather put something like – working on speed of my reading or finally read the Wuthering Heights, which I wanted to do for a long time. However, this does not mean that your goals cannot be big. If you want to go to space and you believe you can do it, write it down! 😊
- Be creative
Do you remember the task Zac Efron was dealing with in the New Year’s Eve movie? He managed to take Michelle Pfeiffer to Bali, fly her around a world, drive taxi in New York without traffic, make her to save a life and many other things in only one night. You can do that too and your experience might be even more rewarding than if it was real. Michelle Pfeiffer, aka Mrs. Withers, would tell you how her life has changed that night.
- Do not overload yourself
Some people, myself included, tend to make their list sooooo long. Try to start small, don’t worry you still have many NYEs coming. What about to begin with three things? For example, you can do one place to visit, one habit to develop and one thing to learn.
- Be yourself
This is perhaps the most important bit for me. Do not set goals for yourself that you think others want you to see achieving or those that you think you should achieve because they are socially approved. You would end up with vague list which you won’t enjoy going through and I guarantee you won’t tick even half of it. For instance – frequent NY Resolutions include things like ‘stop procrastinating’, ‘lose weight’, ‘stop smoking’, ‘start eating healthy’, ‘go gym’, ‘be happier’…. Etc. I know I don’t have time to go gym and to be honest it is not my priority (even though I know I should). I want you to ask yourself, do you really want this or are you writing this down just because it should be there?
- Be specific
This relates to the point 5 above. Remember, vague goals are harder to achieve. For instance, it’s fantastic that you want to ‘be happier’ or ‘more positive’ in the new year. But you should rather write down on WHAT makes you happier and HOW you can get into more positive mindset. Another good example is ‘start eating healthy’ point. Maybe if you write down something like ‘eat 1 fruit every day’ or ‘stop eating fried chicken every Friday’, you give yourself bigger chance achieving it.
- Do not forget
Keep your list somewhere where you will find it from time to time. I do not recommend keeping it directly in front of your eyes, like on your fridge, as that may put unnecessary pressure on you. But, at the same time, do not put it somewhere deep down into the box that you will not open the whole year. The back cover of my diary worked for me, for example. It’s good to remind yourself what you wished to do.
- Plan ahead
Remember that some goals require planning ahead. For example, some events take part only in the certain season, others may need to be booked in advance, weather conditions change around the year, and so on. Don’t let yourself down by not checking these things out beforehand.
- Revise, change and prioritize
Same as the weather in point 8, our own circumstances, opinions, dreams, and priorities change. Luckily not as often as weather, but they do. Don’t be afraid to reflect these changes in your NY Resolutions. Who said they can be written only on the NYE? Do it your way! 😊
- Remember you WHY
This last point will serve as a motivating factor throughout a year. I recommend writing your WHY down together with your resolutions and to remind it to yourself time to time. It will kick your butt 😊. For example, ‘I want to start my own online business because I want to be able to travel the world’. When it comes to it, you want to give up on founding your business because of the annoying amount of paperwork or stop working out because you are busy with something else, your WHY will force you to do it regardless.
You may find these super cute printable resolutions and goals planners useful.
I hope you will my tips helpful. I wish you all wonderful year full of personal growth and achievements!