Three Steps to Take before You Set New Year’s Resolutions

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As 2016 draws to an end, approximately 45% of all Americans will set goals or resolutions for the New Year according to a University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology article.  Here is a ranking of the top six resolutions:


Lose weight

Get organized

Spend less, save more

Enjoy life to the fullest

Stay fit and healthy

Learn something exciting

While nearly half of all Americans set goals annually, only 8% are successful in attaining them.  One critical success factor for resolution or goal attainment is being specific and setting a timeframe or deadline.  In fact, reports that “People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.”

A key ingredient to goal and resolution achievement rarely discussed is reviewing past year’s performance to ascertain what needs to be modified and also to recognize past achievements.  By highlighting your accomplishments and determining which pitfalls prevented you from achieving your goals, you will better be able to start the New Year with a fresh slate—and set yourself up for success.

Ask yourself the following questions to ensure you are passionate about next year’s goals and productive all year long.

Which accomplishments from the last year am I most proud of?  Before you decide what you want to accomplish next year, take a few minutes to reflect on the past year.  Write down what you are most proud of.  For example, you may have introduced a more effective workflow system to your department which will be rolled out across the entire organization, or maybe you lost—and kept off, all of the weight you sought to lose.

What major mistakes did you make from which you can learn?  The only people who do not fail are those who never take risks.  Dale Carnegie said, “The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way.”  Contemplate areas in which you failed and write down subsequent lessons learned.  For example, a person who initially lost the weight they sought to lose, but gained it later, have most likely learned that they need a better maintenance plan.  As such, a goal for the New Year would be to enlist a workout buddy or a friend that will hold them accountable as they resolve to lose weight next year and keep it off.

What do I want to accomplish most next year?  Now that you’ve reviewed your accomplishments and mistakes from the previous year, you’re ready to make your New Year’s resolutions.  Some of them may be carried over from the previous year and some should be new, stretch goals.  Stretch goals are simply goals that appear difficult, but are still attainable as you stretch, or apply extra effort.  “Dale Carnegie said, “Take a chance! All life is a chance. The man who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.”