This Sunday, it finally arrives. Out with the old and in with the new! Welcome to 2017. The year 2016 was, if nothing else, a year that will go down as very interesting. For a lot of us though it’s one we may like to just forget about entirely and try to move on.
New Year’s Resolutions
Every year that I can ever remember, I always start out with the idea that things in the new year are going to be great. I mean, it’s a clean slate, isn’t it? I think we all feel that way whether we verbalize it or not. It’s even in the images we see about the new year like when the beautiful little baby comes into the picture and the old man creeps off as the image of the passage of time drifts in our heads. And so it goes, we begin to think about some of things we’d like to change about “last year” and we make our resolutions and our goals for the new one. It’s the go-to move that we all seem to practice. It’s the time when we take that opportunity that can allow you to recharge yourself and plan for success.
What Keeps Us From Our Goals
But there is a rub here. A lot of us simply start a wishing process: I wish I could earn more, I wish I could improve my relationships, I wish I could get healthier etc. It reminds me of the old Dusty Springfield song from the ‘60s (I know, sigh, everything reminds me of an old song from the ‘60s)…you know the one I’m talking about? “Wishin’ and Hopin’”.
That’s a song that put simply says that wishing and hoping for something just doesn’t work very well. When it comes to wanting something to happen, you actually have to do something! Wishing may have worked well for Aladdin with his magic lamp but for you and me (and Dusty) it just won’t do. So what do you do when you come to that moment in time when the old is out and the new is in?
How to Stay Focused
What I do is reach out for the word resolution, as in new year’s resolution, which comes from the word resolve. That word means that you find a way to solve a problem and it gets solved when you make the right choices that lead to your goal. You decide on the course of action. An awful lot of us start out with that attitude, but by the end of week 1, we have somehow lost our resolve. It usually isn’t easy to keep your resolve, if it were everyone would be making their goals and I’d be writing about some other thing today for the new year.
One way to keep your motivation is to know your “why”. For example, don’t just resolve to lose weight. Resolve to lose weight in order to be healthier, or more active, and focus on those reasons. Or resolve not just to save money, but to save money for your emergency fund, or for an upcoming trip. Keeping the purpose in mind will help to keep you on track.
The best way to make 2017 the best year ever is to think about the specific things that you want to change about last year and focus in on how to change them. We’ve talked about S.M.A.R.T. goals before. Remember to keep your goals:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Actionable
R – Realistic
T – Timely
It’s All About The Plan
It doesn’t really matter what the resolution is that you want. It’s about the plan for success that you make to get there. I’m very motivated right now to achieve my list of goals and resolved to achieve them, today. But what about in a few days when the motivation and enthusiasm wanes a bit and some distractions start to interfere and get in my way? That’s the challenge of it all and when the plan comes into play.
If you want to lose weight this year, for example, then do something other than wish you could. You have to eat a certain way, exercise a certain amount, weigh yourself to monitor progress, think in realistic increments of that loss and set your deadlines to achieve it. You may have to join the gym or get a buddy or family member to do it with you so you can keep each other committed and motivated. The point is that all of those actions are the choices you make and they are all part of the process of being S.M.A.R.T.
Weight loss aside, we all have our own unique targets. For many they are financial goals or job-related goals, their retirement plans or their overall financial health and independence. I hear it all the time, “my goal is to retire by age 40”, or even younger. That’s a goal that only can be achieved with “smart” thinking.
So the year ahead is full of bright, shiny opportunities for us all. Vow to become one of the people who will resolve to be a success in 2017. Resolution is step number one. Without a goal, you don’t have much of a chance to make 2017 your best year ever. I doubt that depending on finding a magic lamp like Aladdin did is the answer to any of our goals, so take my advice, stop wishin’ and hopin’, and start doin’ right now. And may you and yours have a very happy new year!
Have you made serious resolutions for 2017? Are you using the “smart” approach to keeping your resolutions? What are some of the ways you make sure you are successful when it comes to your resolutions?