2012 is the Year of the Real Resolution
2012 is upon us! After 2 weeks of parties, family gatherings and general celebration, it’s time to get back to work. The weeks leading up to and including Christmas and New Years are often our least productive. We don’t have time to work out, stay organized or stick to our “green” principles. When January 1st comes along, most of us make resolutions to get our lives back on track, partially to make up for the weeks of binging and the guilt we feel from allowing our usual habits to take a vacation. So as we make those New Year’s Resolutions, keep these few tips in mind for a successful one.
First of all, keep your resolution specific and realistic. Resolving to “be happy” or “go green” or even “reduce your carbon footprint” are wonderful in theory but need a more concrete definition in order to be truly achievable. Your New Year’s Resolution should be one sentence that fully explains your intention and the result you hope to see. For example, rather than “be happy” write out a real resolution like: “In 2012, I will spend more time doing things that I enjoy doing like reading, exercising and spending time with friends; I promise to do at least one thing for myself every day and in doing so hope to achieve a more positive outlook on life.” Once you have a defined goal, write it down and place it somewhere you will see it constantly - behind your office door, on your bathroom mirror or on bedroom wall are all great places.
Next make a timeline on how to achieve this goal. To continue with the “be happy” resolution example, start with doing at least one substantial thing for yourself each week. Resolve to do one happy hour a week with friends or go to the gym at least three times a week for an entire month. Once this goal is achieved, do a mental check up to see if the extra “you time” is having the desired effect. If so, the next month, try to see friends once a week AND work out 3 three times a week. Or resolve to read a book from start to finish this month. After month two, do another mental checkup. Continue this pattern throughout the year and the significant change you were hoping for will have come without a drastic change to your lifestyle.
Finally, as you accomplish all your bite-sized goals along the way, make sure to reward yourself. Conversely, establish consequences for putting up roadblocks. This works especially well for goals that also result in saving money. If part of your going green resolution includes giving up single serve coffee cups (think cups you get at Starbucks), you can invest this cash in a bigger “green” project like installing an energy efficient appliance.
So as you come up with your own personal goals for 2012, remember to keep them specific, realistic and manageable. The smaller your goals become as you pare them down, the more likely you will be to achieve them. Set yourself up for success this year and make a real resolution that sticks around until 2013.