The beginning of a new year ushers in wishes, dreams, and plans that motivate us to work towards a better and more fulfilling year. For many of us, creating New Year’s resolution is one of the most important tasks to start the year. The process of outlining one’s resolution is very motivating as one sees the possibilities of accomplishing many great things. With new perspectives to embrace the New Year, New Year’s resolution is indeed a necessary tool that allows us to make the most of the year.
I have devised a simple model, “5-Steps to Making New Year Resolution,” which I believe is a good guide for anyone who wants to make their resolutions a reality. When applied consistently, you will find it to be very useful, practical, and effective.
Identify the resolution to accomplish. Categorize your resolution under various sections such as Career, Finance, Health, Religion, Family, and Personal Development. By listing down your resolution according to different categories, it will help you to organize the planning and execution of your action plan later on.
Identify a time line to complete it. Without a time line, your resolution will not be realistic. If you find yourself having to fulfill the same resolution year after year, it is time to decide a definite time line to complete it this year. Draw an overall weekly and monthly timetable on a spreadsheet. Fill in the timetable with tasks concerning your resolution. Remember to space out your activities so that you will not overload yourself.
Identify the resources needed to materialize it. At this point, you will need to know how much resources are required to fulfill your resolution. Resources are the means and tools to materialize your resolution. It could be tangible means such as money, car, laptop, or intangible means such as knowledge, skills, and social network. This step will determine the necessary preparations to accomplish your resolution.
Translate your resolution into day-to-day activities. This step requires you to break down the overall resolution into day-to-day activities. In the timetable, write down the activities that you plan to carry out for each resolution.
Follow through your timetable consistently. Print out the resolution and timetable. Place it in visible places whether in your room or your office. The more you refer to it, the more motivated you will be to follow through your plan. You may want to read your resolution every morning to remind yourself consciously. When we are preoccupied with routine day-to-day activities, a constant reminder of your resolution will keep you in focus.
Before applying the above model, here are several rules that will help govern your effort.
Be specific. Your resolution must be very specific. Try to entail as much details as you can in your action plan. A vague action plan will only cause confusion and discourage you along the way. For example, if you want to develop your communication skill better, you have to pinpoint a specific area to improve, whether in the area of conflict resolution or listening skill.
Be flexible. Always allow space for unexpected changes or circumstances that may come in the way of your action plan. Be flexible to alter your action plan to meet the unexpected situation. For example, if you plan to buy a car and your spouse is stricken with unexpected disease that requires medical treatment, you may want to postpone your plan.
Enjoy doing what you have planned. Ideally, your resolution must be something that you enjoy and desire to make it happen. You will find great satisfaction and fulfillment in carrying out activities related to your resolution. For example, if you love cooking and would like to learn baking, you will really look forward to bake. On the other hand, if you dislike sewing, it will take a while for you to find interest in it, or you may never like it after all.
It is achievable within the planned period. Each resolution must be achievable within certain period. Usually, if the factors to fulfill a resolution are within your control, you will have no hindrance in following your timetable. However, when external factors are beyond your say, it will be challenging to complete the resolution on time. For example, if your resolution is to have a baby by year-end and your spouse is not ready emotionally, you will not be able to fulfill it. Therefore, it is vital to discuss with the person involved in your resolution. They could be your spouse, family members, colleagues, or friends.
Evaluate and make adjustments to fulfill it. It is important to understand that what you plan to fulfill may not be the expected and desired outcome. Take time to evaluate whether your action plan is moving you in the right path. This simply means evaluating the results to see if your action plan is effective. For example, when you want to learn a new foreign language and see no sign of improvement after months of self-study, you should consider another way to pursue it.
Build accountability by sharing your resolution with someone. Share your resolution with someone whom your trust to encourage and to keep track with your progress. They can be your spouse, best friend, father, mother, sibling, or colleague. This person acts as a personal coach to help you follow through your resolution with much more commitment and determination than having it done on your own.
It is never too late to begin planning and executing your new year’s resolutions. The success lies in your decision whether you want to make the most of your life each year. We must realize that we are not able to turn back the clock and relive our lives again. That is the reason why many people found themselves in the “if only I have…” dilemma. Break free from this dilemma and start living your live with responsibility, commitment, and determination. Do you want to live a great year this year? Do you want to experience a moment of pride, satisfaction, and happiness when you look back into your life in years to come? Plan your resolution and action plan today.
Written by Sarah Taylors