Creating Fun and Effective New Year's Resolutions

by Kevin L. Polk, Ph.D.

Like a lot of you out there, I am not that fond of hearing about New Year's resolutions. Through the years the entertainment and news media have mainly focused on things we enjoy doing but need to give up. Smoking, drinking and eating come to mind. While quitting something for health reasons is a good idea, let's face it, it's not fun to think about giving up what we are good at doing. So I'm not going to talk about quitting things. I am going to talk about doing more of the things you like to do.

First thing, let's rename resolutions into goals. Goals are just so much more fun than resolutions. I know of many people who think of football and hockey goals at the same time they think of life goals. Combining these thoughts helps give them happy, energetic feelings about goals. (Okay, I admit it, I am one of those people and I find it works for me.) The point is to try and put some happiness and energy into your goals, however you go about doing it.

With that done, lets look at some goals that are easy to get happy and energetic about. More than likely you did some things really well last year; well make at least some of them goals to continue doing next year. Just look back at last year and how you accomplished getting those things done. Try and figure out how you did them day by day, week by week or month by month. Now project what you did last year across the New Year and there you have it, goals you know you can accomplish because you did them last year. Now you may think I am joking, but think about it. Are there good things that you enjoyed doing in the past that you are sorry you gave up? Most of us have them. So setting a goal of keeping up one, two or more good things you did this year is a great goal for next year.

For example, maybe last year you spent more time with parents or your children. Why not make it a goal to do that again? Maybe last year you cut down on caffeine and started to sleep better. Again, that's a great thing to do again next year. Just think of something healthy, however small, and do it again next year.

Of course, like most people, you probably have some goals that you have never reached, but have dreamed about reaching. The first thing to do is to write those things down. Magic happens when you write things down. Of course it is not magic, it is simply that you are taking abstract thoughts from your brain and turning them into concrete objects you can see, touch and read.

After you have one or more major life goals written down, why not look at what you already do (remember those good things you did last year) that will help you achieve those goals? This time figure out how you can increase and/or improve doing them in a way that might help you reach your dreams.

Finally, set this simple goal: "I will schedule some time during every week of next year to think about how doing the things I enjoy can help me achieve my dreams." Go ahead and write the times in next year's schedule. You might just find your are a lot closer to your dreams by December 31, 1999.

Happy New Year!

Kevin L. Polk, Ph.D. is a goal and time management coach, writer and speaker. He can teach you the art of managing your time. For a free subscription to his monthly "Time Saving Tips & Tricks" put subscribe in the body of an email to timesavers Copyright Kevin L. Polk, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.

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