The Importance of Resolutions
What is a Resolution?
Before discussing the importance of making resolutions, let’s clarify what a resolution is.
Definition: A firm decision to do or not to do something.
Examples that spring to mind may include
starting a diet, losing weight, eating more healthily, stopping smoking or beginning an exercise regimen. Isn’t it interesting how many of our resolutions revolve around our physical bodies?
However, some resolutions may be more spiritual in nature such as resolving to get more involved at church, pray more or be more charitable.
Or, maybe you want to learn a new language, take up painting or find more time to enjoy your favorite pass-time.
Whatever the specific resolution, it generally involves setting a goal for improving ourselves or our lives in some way. In setting resolutions, we are acknowledging that we are not perfect and that we have room for improvement. Taking time to come up with resolutions requires some amount of introspection — taking inventory of ourselves and recognizing areas of improvement or things we could do that would bring more joy or fulfillment to our lives.
Why are Resolutions Important?
Many people drift through life, letting life “happen” to them. They may know what they’d like out of life, but they have no clue how to achieve it. They react to events in their life as they come, but they have no clear plan for their lives or how to achieve their goals. For some, it may be due to an aversion to work; and, let’s face it, planning takes effort.
As any project manager will tell you, planning is one of the most important stages of a successful project. It is during the planning stage that you clarify the requirements, breakdown the effort into manageable pieces, map out meaningful milestones and a schedule, perform initial risk analysis and secure your resources. Poor planning up-front is a recipe for disaster, generally resulting in blown budgets, missed deadlines or delivery of a product that misses customer expectations.
You are the project manager of your life! Don’t short-change the amount of time and effort that you put into planning.
How to Make Good New Year’s Resolutions
What constitutes a “good” resolution? Well, a resolution is essentially a goal and there is an acronym which many businesses use to formulate S.M.A.R.T. goals which I believe is equally applicable to creating resolutions. A “good” resolution should have the following attributes:
For the purpose of illustration, I’ll use the weight-loss resolution as an example; however, this can be applied to any resolution or goal you may have…
Don’t just say “I want to lose weight”. How much weight? By when? What steps will you take to do it? Do you believe this is an achievable (i.e., realistic) goal?
A better resolution would be “I want to lose 30 pounds this year (2015)” and then follow it up with a more detailed plan which you believe will enable you to meet that goal. Perhaps part of your plan would be to join a health club and workout at least three times per week or commit to walking 5 miles per week on your treadmill. In addition, you may need to address aspects of your diet such as cutting back on sweets or soft drinks and incorporating more fruits and vegetables. Again, be as specific as possible in creating a detailed plan that you believe you can stick to and which you believe will help you to achieve your goal.
It’s also helpful to break your resolution down into smaller “chunks”, for example, if you want to lose 30 pounds during the year, break it down into more manageable and measurable chunks of 2.5 pounds per month. This seems less overwhelming and allows you to make required adjustments along the way to achieve your goal.
By being specific and laying out a plan, breaking it down into steps that you will take and creating a timeline you are much more likely to keep your resolution.
Tips for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolution
Here are a few tips for keeping your new year’s resolution. Of course, these tips apply to any goal you may set for yourself. Apply these steps to help you achieve your goals in life.
- Set S.M.A.R.T. goals, as described above.
- Plan your strategy for success. Take the time required to develop a realistic and achievable plan to reach your goal.
- Use a calendar or planner. Schedule and document your route and track your progress
- Look for role models or mentors. Learn from others who have already demonstrated success. Read a good book.
- Be Resolute. Stay motivated. Exercise your determination. Visualize what it will mean for you to achieve your goal.
- Be Resilient. Don’t give up at the first setback. Don’t beat yourself up after a slip-up. Regroup and get back on track.
Again, it’s your life: you’re the project manager. Nobody has more of a vested interest in your success than you do!
Use a Calendar or Planner
Many of us rely heavily on the calendar when it comes to our jobs. You may use an electronic calendar or a wall calendar to keep track of important due dates, training or upcoming meetings. And yet, we may resist structuring our lives outside of the workplace in such a manner — but why?
Using a calendar can be an invaluable tool in achieving your resolutions. Take time to plan your course for the upcoming year and document it on your calendar. Schedule your planned milestones and the steps required to achieve your goal. For example, you may want to block out the days and times that you will workout or track the times that you do workout throughout each week to ensure that you’re adhering to your plan. You may also want to plan a date each week or month where you will measure and evaluate your progress, in addition to modifying your your plan, if needed.
Another word that comes from the same root as “resolution” is “resolute”.
To be resolute is to be purposeful, determined and unwavering. The picture that comes to my mind is that of a soldier standing at attention.
When you create a resolution for yourself, it should be something that you really want to accomplish and that you are determined to achieve. It is going to take determination. Don’t get down on yourself if you slip up along the way, just get back up and press forward!
When you create a resolution and you stick to it and follow it through to successful completion, not only will you have demonstrated your resolute character, but you will have further strengthened your character. You will gain confidence in your ability to take on new challenges and conquer other obstacles.
A Word of Encouragement
Perhaps you’ve never made a resolution before,
or maybe you have, but you didn’t follow through on it. Don’t be discouraged — you’re not alone! Various studies have found that of those who make New Year’s Resolutions, less than 10% actually keep them. However, I believe that if you take the approach of developing S.M.A.R.T. resolutions, and take the time to formulate a plan, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
You can beat the odds! Don’t be denied — exercise your determination and prove to yourself and those around you that you have the power to make positive change in your life. When (not “if”) you cross that finish line, you’ll have reason to celebrate!
Keep your eyes on the prize and take charge in 2015!
May you have a happy and prosperous 2015!
-Patrick @ Family Staples