New year, new me. Sound familiar? It’s a sentiment that we hear from the mouths of so many at the start of every year. Friends, coworkers and family members that are ready to take control of their lives with a list of carefully curated ‘to-do’s that will help get them closer to meeting their goals.
If you’re like me, this is an exciting time focused on self reflection and setting the tone for the year ahead!
However, for some – the idea of setting goals is a frustrating routine that is often met with bad feelings only weeks later. We’ve all been there, but we want to help you start your year feeling strong and positive. Below we’ve got tips to help you set intentions that you’ll keep past January and strategies to help stay focused when it gets hard.
Setting Goals for the New Year
The history of New Year's goals dates back thousands of years to the ancient Babylonians. Though back then it was more of a religious than secular holiday, focusing on paying tribute and making promises to the gods. Promises that if kept, would reap great reward to the people.
The holiday continued to be celebrated on different days, and in different ways by various cultural groups around the world. These days, we mostly use it as an opportunity to start fresh each year and set goals focused on bettering our lives.
New Year's Resolutions Ideas
Looking for a New Year's resolution idea? Here are some of mine over the last few years!
- Read a Book a Month
- Clear out the Clutter
- Learn a New Language
- Take up a Team Sport or Hobby
- Pick an Organization to Volunteer With
- Travel to a New Country
When the Going Gets Tough
For so many of us, the thrill of lacing up our new gym shoes on January 1st and heading to renew our gym membership is the kickstart to a great New Year's goal. So why is it that by January 20th we're feeling too sluggish to even leave the house? With such strong resolutions in our mind, where is it that we go wrong?
According to a research study done by the Fisher College of Business, only 9% of Americans who make resolutions complete them. When breaking down the research further, it's reported that 23% of people who set goals during the new year quit by the end of just the first week and almost half of them stop by the end of the first month of the year.
It can be easy to be discouraged by these numbers and wonder why even bother if the odds of success are low to begin with. But setting goals can be a productive way to focus on self improvement.
How to Keep New Year's Resolutions
If you want to give your resolutions a strong effort this year, we've got some tips to help. Try out all of these ideas or just the ones that fit your goals best!
A lot of people have probably heard of SMART goals before, whether through college courses or at work during an annual review. But maybe you've never considered using them to set goals in your personal life. The word SMART is an acronym, breaking down what your goal should look like. It stands for:
By breaking down your goals into these different elements, you're able to focus on exactly what you want to accomplish, how you're going to decide when you have accomplished that goal, and the length of time you want to set to check back in.
For example – If you've never run a day in your life, you wouldn't want to set the goal to run a marathon in one month. Make sure that your goal is truly achievable and that it's measurable and broken into smaller, more doable steps.
Another way to focus on keeping your resolutions past the first few weeks of the year is to nominate an accountability partner. Or if you have more than one goal, you can pick a different accountability partner for each area of your life.
Maybe you want to start a new diversity initiative at work, so it makes sense to choose a coworker to be your accountability partner. They're there with you every day and can see how you’re progressing through your goals throughout the year. Or if you're like me and want to start going to the gym, maybe you and your partner sign up for a gym membership together. That way you can set times to go together throughout the week and stay on track.
With a partner you have a higher likelihood of success, because you’re making a commitment to yourself and to someone else to show up even when you don't want to! You're less likely to quit if you know you may let someone else down. Plus, it can feel good to help someone else reach their goals as well.
Create a Vision Board
One of my favorite things to do when setting goals is create a vision board. This may not be for everyone. I definitely lean more towards the artsy side of life, so I enjoy a good craft. But stick with me on this! Studies have shown that having visual depictions of your goals where you can see them means you're more likely to succeed. Plus you can turn it into an activity with friends and host a vision board party!
A lot of us interact with vision boards on a daily basis in ways we might not realize. It doesn’t have to be magazine cutouts, poster board and glue sticks, it can be simple and digital! Sometimes throughout the year when I'm altering goals, I'll find quotes, patterns and images online that inspire me. I’ll use these to create a digital vision board and save it as my phone lock screen. This is another way that the goals I'm setting for myself are brought to front of mine multiple times throughout my day.
If you don't want to get overly artistic with this project, it can be as simple as writing a list and keeping it on your fridge where you can see it every day.
Learn More About Your Goals
Take time to learn more about the things you're setting goals on. Whether through books, local meetups, or my recent favorite – podcasts. If you're setting a personal goal to learn a language by the end of the year, head to the local library and pick up a few books on the culture to get yourself excited for the task ahead. If you're looking to learn more about meal prep, religion, art or meditation – head to Spotify and search from thousands of podcasts on that very subject! You are never alone in your goals, and are never far from a community of like-minded people who have the same plans for the new year.
Wishing You a Healthy and Happy 2024
From our team to you – we hope that your new year is already off to a good start! Follow our blog for tips, tricks and inspiration to get your year started with a bang!
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