Did you make New Year’s resolutions this year? It’s not too late to make ones that have a lasting impact on your life, instead of being good intentions that are forgotten by Valentine’s Day. Here’s how.
New Year’s Resolutions That Stick
How many of your New Year’s resolutions can you remember from last year? Better yet, what are your top three priorities? We all make goals for ourselves, but it’s easy to get swept away with deadlines and distractions lose our focus.
Keeping focused is the key to making New Year’s resolutions that stick. You can do that with three simple steps: Keep it simple, direct, and repeat often.
Simple: Identify the top 3 goals
Creating goals for ourselves isn’t rocket science. There are tons of books and blog posts on how to write good ones (see the link to About.com posted below). What’s harder to do is to make them stick. When we have too many goals to remember, it’s impossible to remember any of them. So just pick three important ones to focus on.
Direct: Shorten your goals into a code word
When you are teaching a child a new behavior, a simple code word communicates a lot more clearly than a lecture does. For example, “case closed” means the argument is over, period. Code words, like text messages, focus our thoughts on the bare essentials. Instead of writing “exercising three to five days a week,” you’ll do better with “exercise!” Code words also come across more like imperatives rather than options, making it more likely that you’ll listen to yourself and do them!
Repeat Often: Post your goals in an obvious place
If your goal is out of sight, it won’t be top of mind; and you’re less likely to keep it. If I want my daughter to get dressed in the morning, I’d better not go to the other room to check my email. If I do, I’ll return to find her playing with her Barbies. We all need constant reminders to refocus on our top priority for the moment. So add your goal to your calendar software as a pop-up weekly reminder, or post it on your computer screen. You’re more likely to work on your goals when you are reminded of them often.
Over at About.com’s Living with ADHD blog, Keath Low suggests seven steps to making realistic New Year’s goals:
- Write down your goals
- Establish a Plan
- Visualize Success
- Buddy Up With a Friend or Family Member
- Review Progress
- Reward Small Steps Toward Your Goals
- Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
Edge Coach, Marla Cummins, also published a great post on New Year’s resolutions. She defines a goal having the following qualities:
- It is your own.
- It is something you can do.
- It is under your control.
- It is very clear and specific, using numbers and measurements.
- It is something in the future.
- Goals are dreams with a foundation..
Yes, New Year’s has come and gone, but it’s not too late to resolve to make 2009 the best year yet! If you have trouble keeping goals you set, you might consider getting an Edge Coach to help you stay on track.
What goals have you set for yourself this year and how do you plan on keeping them. We’d love to hear from you!