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How to Make Resolutions that Work

Posted Dec 29 2009 1:00am

This post was written by Anastasiya. Follow me on Twitter or StumbleUpon and keep your life balanced!

how to make resolutionsImage by Creativesam

I have an innovative idea for you. Here is a simple and fast way how to make all your resolutions (and even dreams) come true.

On the New Year’ Eve write down all your resolutions on a piece of paper (try to use as little paper as possible, you’ll see why later.) Make sure that you buy a bottle of good champagne (the sweeter the better) and set a few pretty candles on the table. When the clock starts striking 12 on December 31st grab your list with resolutions, and burn it using one of the candles. Make sure that you put all of the ashes into your glass with champagne and drink it. You must finish the whole process with the last strike of the clock. Results are guaranteed.

Doesn’t seem very realistic, right? :-) Well, if my super-duper way does not work for you then I think that we should look at resolutions more seriously.

I personally love making New Year’s resolutions and then monitoring how well I am doing during the year. The best part of course is looking at your list of resolutions at the end of the year and seeing how much you have accomplished (if you didn’t plan your resolutions well enough then it will be the worst part because you will see how much you have not accomplished.)

About 46% of Americans set their resolutions every year and only 12% of them actually succeed. That’s a pretty bad success rate for something that people have been doing for centuries. Resolutions are nothing but goals that you set for a year and if you can set these goals the right way then you will have a happy and productive year ahead of you.

Setting goals is not rocket science (though it might be judging from the stats ;-) ) and anybody can learn how to make their resolutions work. Here are a few strategies that I’ve found helpful in creating my list of resolutions (they’ve worked so far). In italics I am going to write my personal experience and my resolutions. You can skip them and just read the tips.

  1. Think about your life in the past year. So what does your life in the past year have to do with your resolutions for the next year? In order to set realistic goals you need to see how much you have already accomplished (and praise yourself a little bit for every accomplishment) and what areas of your life still need some work. You can see how much time it took you to reach a particular goal and that way you will be able to create realistic expectations for the next year (if you have lost 10 pounds in the past year instead of the intended 50 then setting a goal of losing 100 pounds definitely won’t be realistic.) Concentrate though on the things you have finished in order to get into a positive and inspired mood to create new resolutions.
    Here are a few things that I have done this year and that I am proud of:
    Revamped Balance In Me (new design, new readers, better articles)
    Lost baby weight (I am even below my weight before pregnancy)
    Got my driver’s license (you might laugh but most people in Ukraine do not have cars and they never learn to drive. It was quite a challenge for me to get my driver’s license and I am still not comfortable driving – sounds like a good resolution for the next year)
    Started running regularly (I usually run 3 or 4 times a week, that’s a perfect schedule for me right now)
    Got my scuba-diving certification
    Became more productive without sacrificing time with the family (my husband and I created a schedule for taking care of the kids and it works great for us.)
  2. Ask yourself the right questions. Your resolutions are resolutions that will make YOUR life better (and not somebody else’s life). You must know exactly what you need in life in order to be happy and to live a balanced life. Here are a few questions that you can consider when writing down your resolutions:
    What would make me happy?
    What can I really stick to?
    What is the single thing that will change my life for the better in the next year?
    Why do I need this resolution?(you must know exactly why you are doing this if you want to be successful)

    If you are looking for the ways to live a healthier life then you can consider picking a few simple healthy habits from 101 Healthy Habits that Anyone Can Follow
  3. Break your list into Fun Things, Not So Fun Things and Boring Things. Some people write down only things that they think need to be done and that they do not feel like doing (quitting smoking can be a great resolution but it definitely is not fun). Try to keep these columns equal and do not write down too many Boring Things (otherwise your list of resolutions will end up in the trash can before you get rid of the Christmas tree and your motivation won’t even have a chance of surviving)
    Fun Things for me: scuba-dive more, find more games to play with the babies, get to 5000 subscribers on Balance In Me, start teaching Pilates again
    Not So Fun Things: potty-train my girls SOON (I personally dread this moment), expand my online business, become a better driver, monetize Balance In Me
    Boring Things: I do not have any
  4. Break down your big goals into small steps. I know that we all like to think big: find a better paying job, get rid of my debt, lose 50 pounds, exercise regularly, but these resolutions usually do not take us anywhere. If you do not know what steps you need to take in order to get rid of your debt then your resolution will never be fulfilled. You can write down a big goal but then you need to break it into smaller ones.
    Let’s say you want to lose 50 pounds then it means that you need to lose only 4.2 lbs every month and this is just 0.8 lb very week. In order to lose 0.8 lbs weekly you need to cut down your caloric intake by 2800 calories weekly or by 400 calories daily. This sounds much more realistic than losing 50 pounds.
    If you want to monetize your blog and start making a living from blogging (this is one of my resolutions actually) then check out Darren Rowse’s article How to Make $30,000 a Year Blogging. He breaks this huge goal down into small and achievable ones.
  5. Be accountable. If you are the only one who knows about your resolutions then you will most likely fail. Sometimes motivation not to fail in somebody else’ eyes is stronger than the motivation to live a happy life and to hold on to your word. Share your resolutions with the family, with friends or start a blog where you will track your progress throughout the year.
  6. Start right away. When you set a goal for a year then it seems that you have a ton of time ahead of you. But before you know it the year is over with and your resolutions stay only on paper. Make a commitment to start working on your resolutions right away (it might even mean going for a jog on the first of January.)
  7. Create a plan for slips and setbacks. Everybody fails sometimes and you must be prepared for it too. Make a plan of what you will do in case you cannot hold on to your resolutions. Avoid all-or-none thinking that will trigger the snowball effect and jeopardize all of your goals.
  8. Review your resolutions. Keep your list on the refrigerator, on your desktop or in your bathroom. Read it as often as possible to stay on track at all times.
  9. Kill the perfectionist. You can’t be perfect in everything (if you can then you need to give me some advice) and you must be set on being good instead of the best. Be reasonable in your expectations and do not forget about setting only realistic goals.
  10. Have fun. Making resolutions is all about becoming a better and happier person. We spend more time in the process of becoming this person and that is why we must make sure that this process is enjoyable. Make sure that every minute of your life counts and live it to its fullest.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Keep it balanced in 2010!

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