Here are my Top 10 Resolution (Goal)-Setting Strategies!
1. Don't be turned off by the word "resolution": I think the word resolution gets a bad wrap because of the many broken and forgotten resolutions over the years. Think of them not as "resolutions", but as goals. These are things you want, not just obligatory thoughts spouted at a New Year's Eve party.
2. Don't set them hastily: Take some time to think over what you really want for the next year. Your goals can be more than just self-improvement. They can be financial, for your family, for work or in any other facet of your life. In 2012 I didn't even set my resolutions till March! Don't feel the pressure to have them all ironed out tonight by 11:59pm!
3. Set some easily attainable goals: There's nothing wrong with setting a goal you know you can achieve. It will boost your confidence and spur you on to complete some of the harder ones.
4. And set some lofty goals: Set some goals you might not reach. Don't be afraid to put "get a promotion", "lose 50 pounds" or "save $10,000" on your list. Even if you don't reach your goal, you will have achieved great things by the end of the year! There's a cheesy saying that goes something like, "shoot for the moon because even if you miss you'll land among the stars". As cheesy as it may be, it's true! Don't think of a "miss" as a complete failure!
5. Make a plan of action: This is SUPER important! You aren't going to read more because you put it on a list. You're going to read more because you got a library card, carved out time to go there and carved out the time to read those books. Every goal needs an action plan or it's just flacid words on a page. You don't have to make the action plan before you're allowed to put it on your list: maybe your initial action is to figure out how to make one of your goals happen. But don't wait too long to start in on that plan or December 2013 will be here and you won't have made any progress.
6. Don't get discouraged: You have ALL YEAR to reach a new year's goal. Don't feel like you have to attack all of them on January 1st. If you get to July and realize you're still not drinking enough water, don't consider it a failed goal--start right then! Your goal isn't incomplete till Jan 1, 2014, so keep plugging along!
7. Resolutions aren't all about "quit" and "don't": A lot of us want to cut things out of our lives or quit bad habits. Don't forget that resolutions can be about adding things to your life, too. Maybe you want to learn something new, add an activity or even slow the pace of your life down. Goals to add to your life and reach for more peace are completely valid resolutions, too!
8. Keep your list a manageable length: Consider the types of goals on your list. If you have lots of time-consuming, difficult goals, keep your list short. It can be longer with more easily attainable goals, but remember to keep the list manageable either way. The longer the list, the greater the chance of you forgetting about a resolution or running out to time to reach it. Also, if you find there's something preventing you from starting a resolution (you wanted to lose weight, but got pregnant; you wanted to learn to play the piano, but broke your hand) or you're like me last year and a resolution just stops being important to you, don't be afraid to remove it or "put a pin in it" and go for it next year.
9. Pray about it and/or enlist help: Pray about what to put on your list, how to achieve the goals and while you're working toward them. Share your goals with others so they can help keep you accountable for them. Ask for help if you need it--there is always someone out there who has reached the goal you're working for: find them and tap them as a resource!
10. Make it fun: These goals are probably not life or death--have some fun dreaming them up! What items are on your "bucket list"? Remember that even if some of your resolutions turn out to be failures, that doesn't make YOU a failure! A try and a fail is better than no try at all.
So there's my top 10 list--I'm a regular Letterman, eh? Do you have any other tips that work for you?