Madison County Extension Service: Take A Different Approach To New Year Resolutions

Submitted By Diann Douglas
It’s tradition, every New Year we make a list of resolutions, changes we promise to make in the coming year.  Most resolutions involve some type of self-improvement; top picks usually revolve around weight loss, finances or health.  All too often, they fade from sight as we return to the routine of life after the holidays.
This year, if you want to change your habits and see your resolutions to fruition; reframe your thinking and try a different approach.  Instead of using the term resolution, set a goal.  With a goal, you can develop a plan of action to accomplish what you set out to do.  Most people don’t take the extra steps to develop a plan to see the resolution take shape.  Consider the following steps to help carry out your resolutions.
Identify your goals – They vary with individual interest, but goals are the end result of something you are willing to work for.  It may be losing weight, reducing debt, saving money or to stop smoking.  It has to be something that is meaningful to you and personal.
Be realistic – If the goal is not practical and believable, you set yourself up for failure.  It’s better to set a goal to shed 20 pounds and achieve it then to aim for 50 pounds, get frustrated and quit.  Also, don’t overwhelm yourself by making more resolutions than you can work on.  Make resolutions that work together, for example, improving finances may involve paying off bills and then start saving for an emergency fund.  Or, eating healthier and increasing physical activity, together both will result in weight loss, so you’ve worked on three resolutions at the same time.
Be specific – Clear and concise goals are easier to evaluate along the way.  To say you want to save money is one thing, but you must go a step further and identify a dollar amount you want to save over the entire year.  An example would be to save $1,000 by the end of the year.  Divide it by 52 weeks and you have $19.23 you need to save each week to reach your goal.  If you only say you want to save and never break it into achievable steps, you’ll never get there.
Set a completion date –  Without a time frame, you may see the year roll by without accomplishing what you intended to do.  Write down a deadline and work a plan for how you will get there.
Be sure it’s your own –   Unless the goal is something you want for yourself, you will never reach it.  All too often, we set goals that result from pressure from other people.  It must be your desire to keep yourself motivated.
Evaluate your progress – Take time during the year to see how you are progressing, you may want to check monthly.  Make adjustments if you need to and take pride in the fact that you are carrying out your resolutions by turning them into goals.
If you follow these recommendations, you’ll find it easier to accomplish your New Year resolutions.  For more information on goal setting, planning and resource management in the New Year, contact the Madison County Extension Service.
The University of Florida Extension/IFAS – Madison County is an Equal Employment Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer Institution.
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