Forget Resolutions – Five Alternatives for a Great 2018
As January and a new year is officially under way, most of us are thinking about resolutions and the goals we want to achieve by the time next December rolls around. Unfortunately, New Year’s resolutions fail more often than not. So, ditch the resolutions this year and try these powerful alternatives instead.
1. Choose a Focus Word for the Year
Whether you want to lose weight and get healthier or start a new business, if you want to achieve the change you seek, forget setting quantifiable goals. Instead, choose a focus word or theme for the year. For instance, if you make your New Year’s focus word “health,” ask yourself “How can I become healthier this year?”
Focus words are helpful for several reasons. Not only do they help you focus, no pun intended, but they also help with abstract goals, such as “being a friendlier person” or “being a better father.” If you have a short temper and get stressed out or angry too quickly, maybe your focus word or theme for the year is something simple like “understanding” or “kindness.”
Whatever your focus word for the year is, write it down or print it out and place it somewhere you’ll always see it, like on the refrigerator, bathroom mirror, or computer monitor. By doing so, you’ll be constantly reminded of what you want to achieve or how you want to be in 2018.
2. Set Small Goals for Each Month
If you need a measurable goal or resolution of some kind, make it simple. Take your goal and break it down into smaller goals that can be achieved month by month. Set a goal for January, then February, then March, and so on.
For example, one of my goals is to learn Spanish. Although I know enough to get around LA, or even Cabo, I wouldn’t say I’m fluent by any stretch of the imagination.
Anyhow, learning a foreign language is a huge undertaking. Rather than go all in and lose enthusiasm after a few months, I’ve broken the task down into smaller, more achievable pieces.
You should do the same. Depending on your goal, you may or may not reach it by the end of the year. However, by breaking it down into smaller goals, you’ll make serious progress and stay motivated along the way.
3. Reflect and Imagine
Maybe you’re fit, healthy, happy, and don’t feel the need to pursue any big goals or make any significant changes in your life. If so, great, but it’s still helpful to use the year ahead as a landmark on your lifelong road to success.
According to Doctor Kelly McGonigal of Psychology Today, you should take this time to reflect on your favorite victories and memories of the previous year. Think about the problems you solved, the hardships you overcame, and how you came out on top. Track your efforts and recognize the hard work you put in. This will help get you excited for the challenges of the New Year.
After you’ve reflected on the highlights of the past year, make a list of the things you foresee as being the highlights of the coming year. Whether it’s a new blockbuster being released in the summer or a road trip you’re planning, the items on the list can be as large or small as you like.
Just make sure the highlights you write down are fairly certain to occur. While becoming a rising MLM star or receiving a promotion at work may be exciting, you’ll only end up more disappointed if you come up short. So, forget those lofty goals. Reflect on what you’ve achieved, realize how great you are, and think about the great things to come.
4. Become More Spiritual
I’m not advocating you go to church three nights a week or perform Gregorian chants each morning, but adding a little spirituality to your life is always a good thing. So, take time to experience the beauty of nature and appreciate it every chance you get.
By stopping to smell the roses so to speak, you’ll stay more relaxed, balanced, and focused on being a better you. What’s not to like about that?
5. Commit to Helping Others
The best way to change yourself is to help others make changes. So, rather than committing to a goal or resolution, try committing to a person instead. Maybe you have a family member going through a tough time or a friend who is struggling. Maybe you’re thinking about volunteering for a charity or at your neighborhood soup kitchen. Now is a good time to be of service to others.
That being said, helping others doesn’t have to be a completely selfless act. For instance, if someone you know has achieved something you wish to accomplish, you can help them in some form or another and learn some tips on how to accomplish it for yourself. After all, if they could do it, you could too.
Just make the New Year less about you and more about others. You may be surprised at the positive karma. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2018!