Every year around this time, people start toying with the idea of setting New Year’s resolutions for the following year but most never follow through with them. What if we told you there’s a way to be methodical in making these resolutions so that they work for you? Well, here goes:
Follow the SMART method
The most important thing is to look at resolutions as mid to long-term goals as opposed to some kind of personality overhaul. When you set these goals, make sure they are:
S - specific
Ask yourself exactly what you want to achieve, make sure it’s clearly defined and not just this murky idea you have in your head. So, “I’d like to do better next year” should rather be “I’d like to do better in school or sports or my health next year”.
M - measurable.
Once you’ve defined the goal, you need to think about how you’re going to get there. What does doing better in school look like for you? Is it getting 80% or between 65 and 70%? Be clear about what you want to achieve and then map out how you’re going to do this.
A - achievable.
So you’ve set a clear target for yourself, great. However, the next thing to think about is whether this is a realistic one. The reason why people become discouraged and eventually give up on the resolutions is that they’re usually not very realistic for them. For instance, if you’ve been getting 30s and 40s for Math, it’s a bit unrealistic to want to get 90% in the first term. Rather aim to get 50-60% and work your way up gradually.
R - relevant
We need to know why we’re doing things in order to stay motivated, it’s that simple. Ask yourself why you’re aiming to improve your Math marks. Is it because you need it to get accepted into university? Once you know why, you’ll be able to keep at it even when the going gets a little tough.
T - time-bound.
Give yourself a specific time frame and try your best to stick to it. It’s also a good idea to break the goal into chunks and give yourself enough time to achieve each milestone.
Aim to create new habits
Aim to create good habits that’ll replace the bad habits. Write these new habits down and keep them where you can see them. This way, you have a constant reminder of the person you’d like to be and you can track your progress frequently.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Making changes takes time, you’re not going to get the results you want immediately and sometimes you’re going to make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up about it, rather find ways to stay motivated and keep going even when it’s difficult.
New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be boring or discouraging. With a little determination and a whole lot of planning, you can resolve to do better in the next year and actually stick to it.