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NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS: 3 FACTORS FOR SUCCESS

Are you struggling to come up with a New Years resolution?  Or even considering not making one, but at the same time you want a more fulfilling life with more Happy Places? 

According to a University of Scranton Department of Psychology study, people who took the trouble to make resolutions were 10 times more likely to change their lives for the better after six months than people who aspired to do better but didn’t make a formal New Year’s resolution. Drastic life changes can take time, and can often be difficult to implement, but if we adopt the mantra of “baby steps,” we can make minor adjustments that end up having a huge long-term impact. Since you have read this far, I’m hoping you have some idea about areas in your life where you would like to make these adjustments.  For example:

  • Did you regret not taking that trip to Grand Teton, Wyoming?  Now is the time to plan it for this year. 
  • Have you missed out on a promotion because you didn’t have the experience or education? Now is the time to figure out how you will be prepared for the next opportunity.
  • Did you disappoint a loved one because of your thoughtlessness?  Become more mindful of their importance in your life and resolve to show them how much you really care.

Failures can teach lasting lessons that completely transform our perspective toward life. The value of your past is in the lessons you learned from it.  Opt for self-evaluation rather than self-criticism.  Write down how you will  use that knowledge to contribute to your overall happiness in the future, your Happy Places.

As we welcome 2019, let’s put the past behind us.  As you think one last time about regrets, disappointments, mistakes and shortcomings in the past, write them down and put the list in an envelope. Label the envelope “PAST.”     This will be the last time you agonize over them. 

Once you create your resolutions, your Happy Places, throw away the “PAST” envelope. You can have a small ceremony if you wish, as you throw the envelope in the fireplace and watch it burn away the past as you move your focus to what you will do in 2019.

BELIEF, READINESS, AND SKILLS -3 FACTORS FOR SUCCESS

The results of a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, showed the predictive factors of positive outcomes for resolvers are the belief in one’s ability to succeed, and the skills and readiness to change. 

So, if you believe you can succeed and you are ready and willing to change, all you need are some skills and techniques for setting achievable resolutions. 

Everything is achievable.  The only thing that may hold us back in life is a low self-esteem, a set of limiting beliefs instilled in us early in life, that are not always true.  Click HERE if you think you need help in improving your self-esteem.

Here is my best advice on how to be successful at making resolutions. It is my version of SMART. That’s an acronym coined in the journal, Management Review in 1981 for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Use the Smart Goals for Happy Places template to help you through the process.

Guidelines for Creating SMART Resolutions

Your goals should be SMART. This is a technique I used with great success in the power generation industry for years.  It also works in setting your New Year’s resolutions, too, or any other goals, for that matter.

S – Simple and Specific – Articulate the resolution as clearly as possible.  “Take a summer vacation to Grand Teton, Wyoming, and a fall trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway.” is more specific than Travel more, and see more places.”

M – Meaningful and Measurable – Make sure the resolution is important to you, not just what someone else wants. Quantify the resolution if possible. “I will lose 15 pounds” is better than “I will lose weight.” Logging progress on the template or making notes on your phone or in an app designed to help you track progress will help motivate you.

A – Achievable – Understand what it will take to achieve the resolution.  “I will get a degree in business,” may be difficult to achieve this year, especially if you are a full time working parent. “ I will work towards a degree in business taking  two classes each semester,” may be doable. These are the “baby steps” I talked about earlier, that will lead to your long-term goal to get a degree.

R – Relevant – Make sure your resolutions are in alignment with your long-term goals.  Ask yourself, “Is this a worthwhile goal that will be fulfilling and contribute to my contentment and happiness?”

T – Time-bound – Set time frames for your resolution to instill a sense of urgency, i.e. “I will lose 20  pounds  by May 1.”  Identify interim time frames, or more baby steps, to use as milestones and celebrations, “I will lose 8 pounds, by Feb. 1, another 5 pounds by March 1, another 4 by April 1, and another 3 by May 1.  Focus on small wins to reinforce your resolve.

Unfulfilled lives are full of “yeah buts” and “if onlys.”  Never were more fatal words spoken.  These are the words of people who let life happen to them, rather than creating the life they desire.  It’s never too late to be the person you want to be. Start this year by believing in yourself!  Everything is possible. Isn’t it amazing to be you?

If you know someone who will benefit from this information, feel free to share it with them. Let me know how this process works for you, and if you have any suggestions for improvement.

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