New Years Resolutions are rarely met. Often we set ourselves up for failure.
We expect too much of ourselves - "I will lose 30 pounds this year!"
We try to make too many changes all at once - "I will stop drinking, smoking, partying and become a vegan!"
We're too vague - "I will become healthier this year!"
I'm certainly guilty of this. I'll say how much weight I want to lose, instead of focusing on HOW to lose the weight - Resolving to go to the gym at least 2 times a week every week is a much less daunting and yet much more achievable goal than losing 30 pounds, which makes it more likely that I will meet that goal and that I will lose weight in the process.
We need to creat goals that are S.M.A.R.T. <--- Gotta love that acronym =)
Saying: "I will be healthier!" isn't specific or measurable. How will you know if you're actually being healthier? How will you track it? In what way will you know that you've achieved your goal? Saying, "I will eat three servings of vegetables a day" or "I will eat red meat only once a week" or "I will run 1 mile once a week" - these are specific and measurable. You know exactly what you're supposed to do, they're easy to keep track of, and you can feel good about checking them off on a day to day basis, which means that they're more likely to get done.
Making too many changes all at once usually means that the goal isn't attainable or realistic, mostly because it's not one goal, it's many. Quitting smoking, quitting drinking, and becoming vegan are all specific and even measurable, however they're also multiple goals. And trying to quit so many things at once is overwhelming, especially because they would invovle some major lifestyle changes.
So this year I'm going to make a S.M.A.R.T. resolution. I've involved in the Day Zero Project, attempting to complete 101 Tasks in 1001 Days, so my New Years Resolution is that in 2012, I'm going to have 35 tasks completed from my list, which is a little more than 1/3 of my list.
To this end, I've gone through my 101 Tasks and highlighted in yellow all the tasks that I think I can complete by the end of 2012. You might notice that they number more than 35, and if I can complete more than I've resolved to... well that just makes this an extra good year! Considering that I think all the tasks on my list should be enjoyable, and I will have a lot of fun accomplishing them, I'm looking forward to a very good year indeed!