Get Specific – It’s not that “being a better person” is not an admirable goal, it’s just that it’s a hard thing to define and even harder to achieve. Consider narrowing your goals to the specific areas for personal improvement that excite you most or that might ultimately help you feel like a better person. If your objective is to change a big part of your life or to push well beyond your comfort zone, break that bigger goal down by identifying the appropriate ‘first step,’ then focus on reaching that milestone. In the long-run small, specific goals are a big help.
Measurability = Accountability – As the old business adage suggests, if it can’t be measured it can’t be improved! This is not to say your objectives need to be strictly numbers based, —but the success of your goals will depend greatly on your ability to objectively judge your own success and remain accountable. If your New Year’s resolution is to be more fit, make it your goal to get to the gym eight times a month. Then score yourself! If you want to be a better daughter, resolve to call your mother once a week—then put reminders on your calendar. Want to eat healthier? Resolve to limit your intake of fast food to once per month.
Write it Down, Talk it Up, and Ask for Help! – Once you’ve identified your resolutions, write them down and share them with your friends and family. Sharing solicits support and reaffirms commitment. Reviewing and discussing your New Year’s resolutions also keeps them top-of-mind which will support positive outcomes. And don’t forget to ask for help. Let’s face it—our personal improvement is in our friends and family’s best interest so let’s enlist their support!
Discouragement is for the Weak – Never underestimate the power of a positive attitude. Never. You will most certainly not follow all your New Year’s resolutions nor meet all your goals, and that’s ok. The real objective is to change your behavior and your positive attitude is your best weapon. Everyone operates with a different level of commitment. That’s ok, too. It’s your game—you decide the rules. Just keep a positive attitude and try your best!
Celebrate the Wins (However Small) – You set the goal—you made the effort—now celebrate! Positive feedback is an important part of personal change. Make sure to reward yourself and those who provided you support.