I only make one resolution every year: not to make any resolutions!
I decided many years ago that “resolutions” carry a connotation of inflexibility – either you achieve them or you don’t – whereas “goals” are inherently flexible, allowing one to adjust content, timelines, etc. as required/desired; so for me, resolutions are out, new goals are in!
I like setting personal goals in 4 different categories: spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual; business/professional goals get a category all to themselves, which helps me keep from feeling like I “am” my work.
writing my goals down is the catalyst that converts them from “nice ideas” or “wishes” into actual goals – I hand-write them (a BIG deal for me, since I rarely hand-write anything), leaving plenty of space for revisions (and I’ll usu include the date when I make changes), b/c sometimes as the year progresses I’ll realize that my goal wasn’t specific enough and needs some clarification, or I’ll reach it too quickly and need to raise the bar a bit, etc.
keeping my goals simple and measurable – making sure they’re achievable but not w/o a bit of personal stretching – helps me feel like that invigorating sense of accomplishment is within my reach, w/a little extra effort… for example, one of my spiritual goals for this year is to read and study the lesson for Relief Society (the women’s auxiliary in the LDS church) every Sunday, since I serve as an assistant chorister in the Primary (the children’s Sunday School) and am unable to attend Relief Society during regular church services to listen to the lesson – this goal is simple, measurable, and absolutely achievable IF I put in the required time and effort just once a week.
identifying mini-goals is like deciding where I’m going to stop and refuel or stay overnight on a road trip. I need to plan my route to get where I want to go w/the least amount of frustration and w/o unplanned detours. mini-goals might include things like deciding what time of day or day of the week I’m going to work on a goal, or defining smaller steps that will help lead me along the path to my main objective.
sharing my goals w/people who have a vested interest in my success in that area – like sharing emotional goals w/DH and/or kids, other family, friends, etc. – not only makes me accountable for progress towards those goals, but it sets up cheering sections who support and encourage me as I work on improving myself… sometimes sharing responsibility for a goal makes it easier to achieve – Larry and I have a family goal to donate serviceable but unused household items, clothing, etc. at least once every 3 mos.
identifying little rewards for myself for achieving my goals helps keep me motivated when the satisfaction of achieving a goal just isn’t quite enough to keep me working toward it… ;\ I love Zoya nail lacquers (and their Color Lock System is AWESOME!), so knowing that I can treat myself to several new colours after 12 consecutive weeks of RS lesson study is a very enticing reward for me.
I’m also trying to teach my kids how essentially easy it is to set goals that are just out of reach and then do the necessary work to achieve them – for example, Viv decided to set a goal to keep her room clean for 2 straight weeks (believe me, that’s a stretch goal for her!), and if she reaches her goal, she gets to go out for an ice cream treat w/me or Dad. she picked her own goal and the reward for achieving it, and she’s SO excited about her goal and the reward that every day she tells me, “look, Mama, I kept my room clean again today! that’s 4 days, 10 to go!” or whatever the current countdown is. 🙂
whether you make resolutions or set goals, I hope you enjoy positive abundance in the New Year!