New Years is the that special day where people boastfully pronounce their resolutions to any passerby who will listen. Like most New Year's resolutions they are short lived and die off in a few short weeks after pronouncement. This year, instead of making resolutions, look to bring in the new year with some well thought out goals. This will help you give your life a kick in the pants as you march down a brighter path.
Goals are different than resolutions. Resolutions usually seek to solve a problem and are not always well thought out. This is one reason why resolutions don't often have staying power. Goals are a commitment to achieve some objective and require greater thought and action to successfully achieve.
A popular New Year's resolution is to work out and get into shape. With no real plan in place you walk into your closest gym and sign up for that expensive gym membership that will continue to charge you even though you don't go anymore. You also buy yourself a new pair of running shoes, a great outfit and the latest book catering to some new diet fad. Your ready to go!
Within a few short weeks you abandon the gym and return back to your old habits because you didn't realize there was a lot of work involved in your broad resolution. At the end of it all you spent a lot of money, your enthusiasm quickly died and you eventually gave up. New Year's Resolution "get in shape" died quickly.
Setting a goal may help you more as you will be forced to think through not only the goal but how you manage to achieve it. It is beneficial to take time considering what is important to you and then break down the steps you will need to fulfill your goal. Make sure that your goals have some end point where new goals can be met. Your New Year's Resolution should move from "get in shape" to "lose five pounds" this year.
Steps to Setting Goals
Step 1: Set your goals based upon those things that are really important to you.
Step 2: Goals should have a clearly defined end point like five pounds, volunteer 30 hours, etc...
Step 3: Break your goals down into action steps that require smaller completable steps (i.e. read one health book a month or frequent the gym 30 minutes 3X a week).
Step 4: Assess your goal achievement a few times throughout the year to ensure that you are on track or need to adjust your effort to put yourself on track.
Step 5: Set new goals at the end of the year and celebrate whatever you did happen to accomplish last year.