Well, hello there 2014. I didn’t even notice you come in. By now, you’ve probably made, broken, and partially given up on half of your oh-so-lofty New Years goals. That was me too, every year, until I realized the key to successful (okay … *more* successful, but by no means guaranteed) goal-making. Let’s get rid of the too-easy-to-fail goals like those seen in the image above – after all, how are you supposed to know you’ve succeeded in something if you haven’t even defined what success is? Below, check out my specific goals, with plenty of helpful hints for you to take for yourself!
1. Go to Yoga or Cardio Barre once a week. (As opposed to: “lose weight” or “join a gym/exercise more”)
By keeping our goals realistic but also quantifiable, we make it way easier on ourselves to either give a gold star or a slap on the wrist. By the end of each and every week, I will have either done my workout or not, and I’ve already specified what exactly that workout will be. Generic exercise goals are so open-ended that you’re set up to fail because you’re not working for a specific end goal.
2. Create a budget on Mint.com and stick to it. (As opposed to: “save money” or “pay off credit card”)
Mint.com is an amazing tool — so amazing, in fact, that I stopped using it when it made me see, very clearly, what I was wasting my money on and spending too much on each month. Well, January 1 is a perfect time to reboot it! The site lets you take your income, factor in expenses that you choose such as rent, groceries, movies, pharmacy, etc etc, and then encourages you to set savings ‘goals’ with all of the money left over from what’s been allotted to each budget. Accessible via online and iPhone, this keeps track of all your spending and doesn’t let you hide from yourself!
3. Keep a one-sentence happiness journal. (As opposed to: “appreciate what I have” or “have a more positive outlook”)
Let’s be real. Most of the people reading this article are significantly more fortunate that a lot of the world. It’s very easy to forget that important fact, until something bad happens to us (illness, losing a loved one, an emergency, etc) and even then, chances are someone would be happy to still switch places with you! I’ve never been one for traditional ‘journal-ing’, but by keeping a notepad next to my bed and trying to write one simple sentence before I fall asleep, I can keep highlighting the positives in my life and what I have to be thankful for. My plan is to write the one thing that made me happiest, or the best thing that happened in the day, in my journal. This will help to focus on the positives of any given day rather than the negatives, and will also serve as a healthy reminder of everything good in my life on the bad days.
4. Do [at least!] one productive thing a day.
OK, so this one doesn’t really have a resolution counterpart, but bear with me. I’ve found that its often tough to keep my head above water as I make my way through life in my 20s (ahem..) and sometimes everything just seems to pile on at once. A way to avoid this clusterf*ck disaster, and also force myself into being a productive member of society, is to check off at least one item (can be large or small!) from a to-do list every single day. Whether its just finally mailing off a package thats been sitting too long, or buckling down and hitting Home Depot for those screws you actually do need, or even going to the dry cleaner to drop off that shirt that’s been stained for a month and in a plastic bag – just crossing one task off each day will get you to the bottom of the list (eventually…) and make you feel better about yourself in the process.
Four resolutions – pretty manageable! What’re yours?
By: Liza Nedelman