New Year’s resolutions can be a powerful goal-setting tool when you have specific aspirations that you’re hoping to fulfill. However, many people go about setting their resolutions incorrectly, which leads to disastrous results and disappointment along the way. Learning effective resolution-setting strategies can ensure that, this year, you will accomplish what you set out to.
Try these techniques to set successful New Year’s resolutions:
- Brainstorm what you want to achieve. Start by looking at what you actually want to get done this year. Do you want to improve your financial situation? Do you want to obtain a degree? You can look beyond this current year as well, if you have greater aspirations. Do you want to buy a new home in 2 years, or change careers before you turn 30?
- Map out the achievements you wish to accomplish. Brainstorm everything – every detail that really matters to you. Put this information down on paper so you can review it regularly.
- Turn these aspirations into long-term goals. Now that you know where you want to be, you can derive some measurable goals accordingly. These will be your resolutions. If you want to buy a home in two years, what can you achieve this year? An example may be to "Put $5,000 into savings towards a down payment."
- Break your long-term goals into monthly goals. Break each of your resolutions into specific monthly achievements. For example, if your resolution is to put $5,000 into your savings account for a down payment on a home, a monthly goal may be to put $400 away each month or $200 from each paycheck.
- Choose monthly goals that are easy to obtain but help you work your way toward you’re your resolution goals. Try not to set your monthly goals beyond your capabilities. Setting savings goals beyond what you can reasonably afford, for example, will not help you achieve your goal.
- Use the SMART system when setting your goals. These are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Rather than set a vague goal to "save money this year," you’ll want to have specific and measurable goals with time limits or deadlines in place. "Put $200 into my savings account every pay period this year" is a much more obtainable goal.
- Create stepping stone goals. These are enabling goals that help you obtain your longer-term objectives. Some long-term goals lend themselves better to short-term goals than others.
- Following the same example resolution as before, an enabling goal may be to "Work 40 hours every week in January" or "Cut my entertainment budget by $50 in January and put this money into my savings account."
- Get started today. The sooner you begin to plan out your New Year’s resolutions, the sooner you’ll be able to start reaching goals and achieving objectives. Get started on your goal-setting strategy today.
You can set New Year’s resolutions that drive results and you can benefit from them in each day of your year. These techniques will help you get the most out of your goal setting strategy so you can attain the life you desire.