C.S. Lewis wrote, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” Now is the time for New Year’s resolutions. Do you groan inwardly or do you greet this idea with enthusiasm? If you are ready to set some goals for the next year, I have some tips to help you be successful.
Schedule time for your New Year’s resolutions. Happiness guru Shawn Achor says that it takes twenty-one days to develop a habit. It helps to do a new practice at the same time of day for the practice to become a habit. I have found that writing, for example, at the same time of day helps me to be more regular about it. If I cannot manage that, I can still schedule into my calendar the time to write. I do not go crazy if I miss a day, but scheduling definitely improves my ability to put my bottom in the desk chair to write.
Set realistic and attainable goals. I sometimes fail to exercise, but only if it is a rare sick day or travel day. So, I do not mind setting a daily exercise goal. However, if I were not an athlete, I would set a more moderate goal, such as every other day for exercise. I would also suggest picking an exercise which you enjoy and find easy to do (i.e. you do not have to regularly drive to a ski resort). I am aiming for lifestyle improvement, not perfection.
Why do you want to resolve to do these things? What is your motivation? It could be to improve your relationship or health or spiritual life. Getting in touch with your inner motivations helps you stay on track with your New Year’s resolutions. This year, I thought about what is most important to a sustainable, enjoyable life – being present in the moment and being loving to God, others and me. I also thought about why I want to write my book – to help other people to care spiritually for loved ones and friends at the end of life. It is all about what makes the resolution so important.
If you write your resolution in the form of a question, you will be fourteen percent more likely to accomplish it, states a study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. Will you give up sugar in 2016? Will you lose ten pounds this year? As you look at your questions, you feel compelled to answer them every day you see them on your mirror or refrigerator, “I will.” Ask a friend to become your accountability partner and to question you with your New Year’s resolutions.
At this point, I would like to ask your best wishes and prayers for me with my New Year’s resolutions. Please feel free to ask me how I am doing with these:
1. Will you focus upon truly listening to Jim (my husband)?
2. Will you slow down to be present and to love? (See my last blogpost “True Confessions” for background)
3. Will you finish writing your book?
4. Will you have a daily quiet time and exercise time?
May you make meaningful New Year’s Resolutions and stick to them. And may God bless you in the New Year!