New Year’s Resolutions are four letter words in some households. Too many times they have been followed by disappointment and frustration.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
If you want this to be the year you achieve your new year’s resolution or a new goal (call it what you will), I want to help you.
First, your goal needs to be important. If it’s just words and you don’t believe accomplishing the goal is important, then don’t bother setting the goal. It’s amazing what people can do when they believe something is really important. Make your goal a clear vision. Make your goal time bound and measurable.
I want to learn the piano this year. I have never taken lessons, but I have dabbled with it a few times. My kids are taking piano lessons and I want to share in their journey and help spur their development by showing my commitment to practice too. There are plenty of times when playing the piano can be a service to others, so I see this as an important goal now.
I won’t be shooting to be a concert pianist by December 31, but I do want to be able to play simplified hymns and simple Christmas songs with two hands by then.
Second, believe you can do it. If you failed at this goal in the past, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it now, you probably just need to change your game plan. As you get older it does get harder to establish new routes of thought in your mind, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You have to believe in yourself before anyone else will believe in you.
Third, get a supportive team around you. If you know someone that will be a good cheerleader, tell them what you want to do and ask them to hold you accountable. If you know someone that will tear down your dream, don’t tell them about your goal. It won’t help.
I told my wife about my goals yesterday. She said, “How are you going to accomplish that?” I told her my plan, and I want her to keep me accountable. Especially when I am involving the kids, I know we will all be routing for each other.
Fourth, schedule time to do it. If you just say, I want to lose weight, but you don’t set aside time to exercise, eat healthy and rest, you won’t achieve your goal. I set a goal to read the bible, Doctrine and Covenants and Book of Mormon from cover to cover. It was 2,476 pages, and I missed a bunch of days in the middle of the year, but I got it finished. I made the most progress when I read consistently for 20-30 minutes a day, than when I read for 1.5 hours one day in a week. Small and simple things bring about big improvements. Small and simple habits are easier to establish than huge life changes, but over time, they will change your life.
Fifth, commit to keep going if you run into road blocks. You are human, and prone to imperfection. So when you fail to stick to your schedule or miss a couple of days, commit to start again the next day. You get a fresh start every day. When adversity hits, focus on one step at a time and forget about your mistakes. Learn from them and keep going.
Sixth, look for ways to use your goal to serve others. When you use your gifts, talents and resources to help others, you will find more joy in the journey and it will give you more motivation to keep going when you want to give up.
What do I mean? If you want to exercise more this year, take a child with you and talk to him/her (or listen). If you want to learn to quilt, plan on giving a quilt to the local women’s shelter. (My grandmother once gave nearly 100 blankets to charity when she was in her 90’s. If you want to learn an instrument, plan on going down to the old folks home and playing for them occasionally. They like visitors.
I hope you will work on something to improve yourself. It can boost your confidence and give you more excitement in your life.
If you aren’t sure what goals to set, consider this. My sister once pointed out a scripture that I use to set goals each year. It’s Luke 2:52 – “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
Jesus developed mentally, physically, spiritually and socially. So each year I pick a mental, physical, spiritual and social goal. Balance in your goals can help you attain balance in your life.
If you want to, leave one of your goals in the comments below.
Here’s to a year of growth and achieving new goals!