The New Year is just around the corner! This time of year, for most of us, means a fresh start and inspires us to set new resolutions, create new goals, and work hard to be the best that we can!
From health and fitness to financial goals, career planning to family, and everything in between—there’s a lot that we aspire to at this time of year.
But setting a resolution is the fun part. The hard part starts on January 2nd, when your alarm goes off early and you need to get to the gym—the first resolution on your list. Hitting the snooze button is so easy, while getting up and getting out is hard! Oftentimes the work that’s involved with reaching the goals is too much for us, or we just don’t have enough time or energy. No wonder some 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February!
The secret to creating resolutions that will last is creating plans with intention. This means ensuring that your plans are aligned with your big-picture goals. There’s no point in adding “wake up an hour earlier” to your to-do list, for example, if you don’t have clear intentions for what you will spend that hour doing!
If you’d like to get your New Year off to an excellent start, here’s a look at some tips for planning in a way that will help you to create plans with purpose and intention.
Pause and Reflect
All too often we go from one year to the next, from one set of goals to the next, with little regard to what we have accomplished. Not only does this stifle our motivation to achieve our goals, it also prohibits us from seeing what we have accomplished.
A lot can happen in a year! So it’s important to take some time to pause and reflect on the year that you’ve had. What things stand out to you the most? Which areas were difficult? Which ones rewarding? What did you learn from the challenges? What accomplishments are you most proud of? What were some of your best moments? Your worst ones?
In a way, much of what happens throughout the year helps to shape what will happen in the next—and it’s important to be able to accept the year for what it was. Learning when there are lessons to be learned, being able to forgive and move forward, and celebrating those achievements and things that you’re especially proud of will give you a chance to fully assess the year that’s passed—and start the new one out right.
Redefine Your Goals
Once you have taken some time to reflect on your year, it is time to start getting ready for next one! Chances are there are a few things left undone—that you’d planned on doing, but never got around to. You may be tempted to simply carry them over into the New Year, but before you do, it’s important to take some time to ensure that these goals are still relevant to you. Some things, such as spending more time with friends, you’ll want to carry over, while other things may be better off outsourced, or even simply scratched off the list.
You should also take some time to question your intentions behind your goals. Instead of listing blanket goals, write out why you want to accomplish the goal in question. What will you achieve from it? By giving yourself intention, you will also give yourself motivation and drive to strive for it—even on dark, cloudy mornings when it’s easier to stay in your warm, cozy bed!
It’s important to ensure your goals are clear, instead of vague objectives that you’ll have a hard time reaching. Instead of “get healthy,” for example, you’ll want to ensure that you specify exactly what this means to you. Maybe it means eating better, which would involve looking up some healthy new recipes and shopping for better ingredients. Being specific gives you the framework to be specific in your actions, helping to increase your chances of success.
Set Yourself Up for Success
Sticking with goals can be tough, even if we start out with the best of intentions. So take some steps to make things a bit easier for yourself! This means getting the tools you need to achieve your goals—for example, a new pair of running shoes if you’d like to start jogging. It also means ensuring that you break your big-picture goals up into small, doable steps, and jotting these steps down in your planner. Try to keep your schedule realistic by leaving white space in between tasks and not loading yourself up with a million and one things to do. Remember, you are in charge of your schedule, so try to fight the temptation to put too much on your plate!
Why not make this the year to set resolutions that you’re truly excited about? By surveying the New Year ahead from a place of reflection and intention, you’ll be able to set goals that are far more feasible—ones that you’ll be truly motivated to reach.
Are you excited for the New Year? What tips can you share on setting resolutions with intention?