I may not know which New Year’s resolutions to make, but I’ve learned which to avoid!
It’s that time of year again—time to make New Year’s resolutions! Unfortunately, many of us will have already given up on our resolutions and considered our efforts a complete failure by mid-February. Why is that? One of the problems is that most resolutions are negative in tone, and lack a carefully planned list of realistic, defined steps which would help us keep tabs on our progress.
Here are three of the most common New Year’s resolutions that you shouldn’t make—at least not in the way you usually do—and the steps you can take to ensure that this year, you feel encouraged enough to stick with them.
1. LOSE WEIGHT
Get Healthy is a little better because it’s more positive, but it’s still too vague. If you really do want to get in shape, consider making a list of specific things to do such as:
- Eat at least one fruit or vegetable at every meal.
- Exercise for twenty minutes a day.
- Drink eight glasses of water per day.
- Eat vegetarian one night per week.
- Join a Zumba/Martial Arts/Dance/Cycling (you get the idea!) class.
- Keep a daily journal of everything you eat.
- Confide in a friend that you’re trying to get in shape and ask her to keep you accountable. (Ideally this person should be someone who is either already living a healthy lifestyle so she can guide you, or someone who is also trying to get healthy so she can be supportive.)
2. GET OUT OF DEBT
Again, this one has a negative connotation. A more positive resolution might be: Become Financially Stable, but regardless, we still need to break it down into steps. A list of goals on your way to becoming financially stable might include:
- Calculate how much money you earn each month.
- Calculate how much money you spend each month.
- Keep a list of expenses for one month, down to every cup of coffee, movie rental, tank of gas and pack of gum, to see where your money goes.
- Make a list of monthly bills. Evaluate which items in your budget are necessary and which could be cut.
- Call every company you pay a monthly bill to and make sure you’re getting the best deal/package that it offers. In the case of loans, consider re-financing.
- Sign up for professional credit counseling. (Many times this service is made available for free. Ask your mortgage company, bank, or at your local public library.)
- Look into programs or books for guidance and a debt payment plan. A great resource is DaveRamsey.com.
3. SPEND MORE TIME WITH FAMILY
This is a great resolution that I’m sure your loved ones will appreciate, but how, where and when are you going to spend more time with them? Consider making a list of activities you would have fun doing together and then mark them out on your calendar in advance for the months ahead. Some can even be scheduled daily or weekly. A few ideas to get you started:
- Fly a kite.
- Go to the beach.
- Watch a movie.
- Go roller-skating, bicycling, horseback riding or hiking.
- Play basketball.
- Visit the library.
- Play a board game.
- Walk the dog as a family.
- Teach your child a family recipe and make it together.
- Draw with chalk on the driveway.
- Play hopscotch.
- Get down on the floor and play whatever game your child wants to play with.
- Color in coloring books.
- Build a fort out of a big cardboard box.
What are your New Year’s resolutions, and what small steps can you take to help you reach your goals successfully?