New Year’s Resolutions

Goal-Setting for a Successful New Year

It is the second of January and your New Year’s Resolutions are swimming around in your mind. This is it! This is the year you are going to make huge changes in your life. This is the year you will lose weight, save money, keep your house clean, stop smoking, get a better job, get your temper under control or whatever it is you have decided you are going to do. Yesterday, you did so well. You starved yourself and exercised or you spent hours cleaning your home. You didn’t smoke a single cigarette. You started rewriting your old resume. You bit your tongue when your mother-in-law came to visit or when the chlldren made too much noise. You got through the first day of the year with your resolutions intact.

You are still excited today. You are still resolved. But today is just a little bit harder. You are getting tired of running behind the kids or your husband, picking up every little mess before they can make it. Your muscles ache and your stomach is growling from yesterday’s intense workout and extreme dieting. You feel on-edge and know that just one cigarette will help you to feel more relaxed. You are feeling resentment at keeping quiet when all you want to do is shout. You have scoured the help-wanted ads and found nothing to your liking. How will you ever get through today? How will you get through a whole year? Maybe this year is not your year. Maybe this is not the year to lose weight, save money, get a better job, keep your temper under control, keep the house clean, stop smoking…

New Year’s Resolutions are good for us. They allow us to dream of something better. They are a way of saying, “I am not happy with this and I am going to make a change.” Lifetime changes, however, do not happen in a day and most will not happen by will-power alone. To make a real change, we need to have a plan. We need a goal that is realistic and achievable. The sort of changes we resolve to make in the new year are the sort that take time to realize and should be something we work on for the long term. So, let us begin by setting a goal.

There are many ways to set a goal, but the most successful people follow a formula similar to the one I will describe, taken from the book, “The Learning Committment: Strategies for Solving the Problems that Matter”,