Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions yet? Chances are that you have at least thought about them even if you haven’t decided to commit. Think about those resolutions on your mind right now. Perhaps you are planning to get in shape this year or eliminate debt. Maybe you are hesitant to make any resolutions this year because you never keep them. Do the goals you have look pretty much the same as they did last New Year’s? Decide now to make this year different! Keep your New Year’s resolutions this time around using these easy tips and free worksheet.
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Write Your List
When you first write out your resolutions, simply put whatever comes to mind. It is okay to be very general and it is okay to have 10+ ideas on your list. The only distinction I recommend making in the first step is to write separate lists for each your personal and professional goals. Once you have a rough sketch of your goals, start on step 2.
Whittle Down Your List
If you have a ton of goals you would like to accomplish in the coming year, pare down your list. Try to get down to no more than 4 or 5 goals on each list (personal and professional). More than that will cause you to lose stamina and focus as the year wears on. This year I’ve chosen 4 resolutions for my personal life:
- Health – Daily Yoga
- Home – Finish Basement
- Social – Be More Outgoing
- Faith – Daily Bible Study
Categorizing your goals can help give you a clear picture of where you most want to improve. In addition to those listed above, think about these categories as well:
- Family (find ideas for this category here)
- Marriage (regular dates, being more romantic, increasing intimacy)
- Self (learn a skill, finish a degree)
- Financial (earn more, eliminate debt, start a budget)
Define Actionable Steps
In order to truly be successful with your New Year’s resolutions you need more than just a general concept (like losing weight). Take the time to define specific, actionable steps that you can take to achieve your resolutions. Use this free printable New Year’s Resolutions worksheet to break down each of your resolutions into four parts: Materials Needed, Time Needed, Specified Activities, and Mini-Goals.
To give you an idea of what these worksheets should look like filled out here are 2 examples from my own resolutions:
Materials: The only materials needed for yoga are a mat and some form of learning/practicing the moves. Because I used to do yoga every morning, I already own a mat and some DVD’s to work with. I personally love any of the Yoga Zone DVD’s but you can also simple search on YouTube and find free workouts there.
Time: The only time needed for this is 20 minutes in the beginning because that it how long a workout lasts on my videos. This is why it is important to define your materials first. If you find a free workout video online, it may last only 15 minutes or it may last 30. Take this into account when determining how much time will be needed.
Activities: Since daily yoga is fairly straight-forward and because I will be using videos that walk through an entire workout, there is no need to define specific activities. If you plan to simply work through positions on your own, you might have variations of poses that get progressively more difficult and intense. If you do not own a mat, shopping for one would be an activity to go on your list.
Mini-Goals: Your mini-goals section should never, ever be empty. Mini-goals is the section that takes the information from the other columns and turns it into specific, measurable goals that can be accomplished. This is the key component to actually keep your New Year’s resolutions. Your mini-goals need to start small. As you can see above, I will have to start getting up 30 minutes earlier each day in order to work daily yoga into my schedule. Since I am not a morning person, my very first mini-goal is to get up at 6 am every morning for a week. I am not changing anything else about my schedule in that first week other than my wake time. This is small, measurable, and specific. As the mini-goals progress they being building to bigger and bigger goals yet still remain specific and measurable.
Become More Outgoing
Materials: There are no materials needed for me to work on this resolution. I decided to create my own activities and challenges for myself to push me outside of my comfort zone. If you need some direction or ideas, however, your materials list might include some books or a journal.
Time: The time required for this is minimal. It might break down to possibly an hour a week. Again, this was based on my materials, or lack thereof. If you have a book you plan to read, you time required might be upwards of 20+ minutes per day spent reading and completing activities.
Activities: The specified activities for this were easy to come up with because I already know what activities make me uncomfortable. For example, I am so shy that instead of speaking up and saying, “Excuse me” in a store to someone blocking the aisle, I will just wait for them to be done. (For the record, I have already been working on this and I have already gotten much better.) That’s why I chose to specify that I have to engage with a stranger when shopping. I also love to sing and dance but when I’m in the car I get embarrassed if I think someone saw me. For that reason, I am now challenging myself to always give it my all when singing and dancing in the car.
Mini-Goals: The mini-goals for this are more about creating a change of behavior so they do not build on each other. The weekly goals will be consistent throughout the year however they are still small, specific, and measurable. They will help create an accountability that will lead to the end result of a change in behavior.
Using these tips and free worksheet, there will be nothing holding you back this year! Keep your New Year’s resolutions so that next year you can create new ones (that you’ll already have to tools to help you keep). Use resolutions as tools to start being the person you want to be living the life you want to live! What are your resolutions? If you didn’t plan on having any, have I helped change your mind? Let me know in the comments!