5 Steps to SMARTER New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s Eve is upon us – a magical time for setting new goals and making changes.  Would you like to harness some of that magic for yourself?

Following these five steps will increase your chances of reaching your goals next year, and being successful at what you desire.

Traditionally, the end of the year is a time for making resolutions. Very often these are things we have struggled with all year, and not been able to achieve. And so, we think that by re-invoking them on New Year’s Eve they will be imbued with some kind of magic – and they will happen!

Now, I do think there is a bit of truth to that belief. There IS some mystery and magic in ritual and symbol that we don’t always fully understand. So choosing a special day when millions of other people are also deciding to make some kind of change is a good idea! But it’s not enough.

Here are 5 tips for more successful resolutions –  resolutions that have a very good chance of being followed through.

1.  Choose your New Year’s Resolutions Consciously and Seriously

Setting goals is part of all of our lives, but often it is done unconsciously and with very little purpose and direction. Many of us make choices by default. Today, right now, choose a goal consciously and purposefully. Give it due consideration.

Think about your understanding of goals. A goal is well-defined. Like a target, it gives you clarity, motivation and focus. Having goals gives you a better chance of being successful.

Do you want your goal to be about making a change, forming a new habit, developing a skill, learning something new, stopping something old? What is your goal? For mothers, does your goal have to do with better parenting, better self-care?

2. Align your Goal with your Values

When you goal is aligned with your values, it has a better chance of being realized.  Your values are what you esteem and give worth to. They determine where you spend your money, time and energy. So before, settling on a goal, spend a few moments deciding whether it is, in fact, part of YOUR value set. If it isn’t, it’s going to be very difficult to be consistent with it.

What are your top 5 values? Write them down..

3.  Be SMART about your Resolution or Goal.

You need to write it down. Clearly. Use the SMART method. In other words, make sure that it is specific (S), measurable (M), attainable (A), realistic (R) and has a time-frame (T). The more defined and specific, the better.  Then you will know for certain whether you are achieving it or not. Most goal experts advise you to read it morning and night, so write it down and keep it where you can see it daily.

4.  Make a PLAN of Action.

If you don’t plan, you plan to fail. It’s really as simple as that. Not creating an action plan is defaulting to not following through. So step 4 is to create the action plan. All you need to do is write down the steps required to achieve the goal. You can start from the end (the final product) and work backwards or you can start from the present, and write down the very next step. Keep going and keep asking yourself, “What is my next step?” Write down each tiny step – that will be your action plan.

5. Create a BACKUP Plan

In the final step, you are going to think through all the obstacles that could get in the way of following through on your resolution. Think of what you have tried in the past and what has stopped you. List them all, and then write down in advance what you will do to overcome them this time. How youwill not let them become excuses for abandoning your goal. Be proactive and prepared. We’re all human, after all, and prone to distraction and fatigue and inconsistency!

So what structure could you create to help you stay on track? Be creative and serious about it. This is your life you are planning – not just a goal!

My very best wishes to you for a wonderful New Year full of realized goals and dreams!

Kim Richardson



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