New Year’s Resolutions: Check and Adjust for Success in 2023

So many people around the world start making a list of New Year’s resolutions during the holiday period. To what end? The list inevitably ends up buried on the desk to be found and tossed in May.

What are New Year’s resolutions anyway? Well, Merriam Webster (the dictionary folks) defines them as ” a promise to do something differently in the new year.” Although that is a very broad definition, it will suit the purposes of this discussion.

Some of the most common resolutions that people adopt all seem to fall into personal areas:

  • Weight loss
  • Healthier diet
  • Exercise
  • Save money
  • Work harder

While it is totally a personal choice, many people are opting out of the mundane, everyday resolutions. They are favoring more clearly defined, but broader concepts and leaving the personal items on their to-do list.

Setting Attainable New Year’s Resolutions

As you sit there in your home, sipping your morning coffee, you are obviously contemplating your New Year’s resolutions. The best piece of advice you will ever receive is to make your goals attainable. Don’t set lofty goals that are pre-destined to failure.

Some of the things to consider in your goal setting:

  • Is it a task that can be accomplished in a year?
  • Do you have a support system in place to help you?
  • Is this something you really want to do?
  • What will happen if you fail?

If you have ever heard of SMART goal planning, the setting of resolutions should fall within those parameters. The basic concept:

  • Specific/simple
  • Measurable
  • Attainable/achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Of all the things taught in any goal-setting course or seminar, the SMART list is the easiest to use.

New Year's resolutions: Handwritten note stating "Quit making resolutions"
Image from under CC0-1.0 license

New Year’s Resolutions Using SMART Goal Setting

Specific/simple means just that — be specific in your goal setting, but keep it simple in nature. You can write out the details to add substance and method later. For now, just write the end result you desire. The blanks will fill themselves in as you progress down the SMART list.

Make sure your New Year’s resolution is measurable. That doesn’t mean pull out a tape measure and exclaim, “Yep, that sentence is five inches long. That’s measurable!” It means that you should be able to measure the results as your year progresses. Some people use charts and graphs, checklists, or other means to measure their progress. If you are saving money, the measurement will be your increasing savings account balance. If you are clearing out your closets, the measurement will be the increasing list of donated items and the extra room you will have in your home.

Tying these together makes your list cohesive

Perhaps the most important item on the SMART list is to make your New Year’s resolutions attainable. If you earn $34,000 a year, you shouldn’t list “Save $30,000 this year” as a resolution. Don’t set yourself up for failure. A more attainable savings goal might be to save $2,000 in one year. Anything you save over that means kudos to you for exceeding your goal.

That leads us right into the next section about realistic goals. If your goals are attainable, then they are, technically, already realistic. So we’ll leave that alone.

Lastly, make your New Year’s resolutions timely. That means to stay in the moment, or in this case, the year. If your long-term goal is to own a house in five years, then a timely goal for this year would be to save 5 to 20 percent of your expected downpayment deposit. Ideally, 20 percent will get you there in five years, but your current salary will be a heavy determining factor. And you probably noticed how that fits in with both attainable and realistic, right? That is why this system works so well.

Claiming Your Chunk of the Future

If the New Year comes and goes and you didn’t set any resolutions, don’t despair. While this is geared toward New Year’s resolutions, it is timely information for any goal-setting you do. You can set and adjust goals or resolutions at any point. You can add new goals as things change in your life.

Setting priorities is also an important part of goal setting. What is your main priority? If you have children, it may center on keeping them healthy and whole, providing for needs, and trying to make their lives better. While you do that, don’t neglect yourself.

While many people think they should not prioritize themselves, it is not selfish to put yourself above everyone when setting goals and priorities. It you don’t keep you healthy and happy, how can you prepare yourself to keep others in that same manner? Don’t hesitate to prioritize yourself! Having goals and achieving them sets you up for a successful year.

Featured image from Gerd Altmann via Pixabay under Pixabay license