BE WELL: Crafting More Effective Resolutions

Ah, January. The month during which the people of the United States partake in that most American tradition of making a long list of resolutions. From the qoutidiene to the expansive, it’s a practice as old as time to write a list as long as one can possibly muster; filled with promises to be better, do better, and act better. Whether it’s dropping a couple pounds or partaking in a social media detox, January 1st is a day we’re encouraged to take a good look ‘round, and make a promise to work on ourselves.

I’ve always liked this time of year. The holidays are over, meaning the glut of shopping and wrapping and eating has passed. There’s usually a long weekend to look forward to, and plenty of time to be reflective. In fact, with all this downtime, it’s easy to fall down a dangerous rabbithole of making a never-ending set of resolutions. From physical fitness to personal finances, there is never any shortage of things I could work at being better at.

The way many people make resolutions is why so many of them never survive past the first six months of the year. Below is a list of the pitfalls of resolution making, and how you can avoid them. This year, vow to make better resolutions so that you can actually work on keeping them.

Keep Your List Short
A resolution is, by nature, something one has resolved to doResolve is a pretty strong word. It should carry weight, importance — an impressive sense of duty. When one resolves to do something, it means you possess a firm, definite, and serious determination to solve an issue or put some troubling matter to bed. Therefore, your list of resolutions should be short and manageable.

Keep Your List Difficult
There are things we like working on — for myself; creative projects, writing, and running are good examples. Making time to write and run and work on my blog are things I know I will make happen in 2017 because I personally enjoy all of these activities. Making time to look at my finances, however? I would rather walk across hot coals. Which is precisely why financial goals are at the top of my list this year. By giving myself homework on the things I enjoy the least and keeping my goals brief, I’ll be more inclined to tackle these tough projects and spend more time on improving areas of my life I usually spend less time on.

Fail Small
To succeed, one must come to terms with the fact that missteps, mistakes,and fumbles are inevitable when working towards an important personal goal. The key in failing is to keep your setbacks small. After a disappointing turn of events when working to save money or lose weight, some may give up, but this ‘what’s the point?’ mindset is the killer of personal successes. When we take one measly asetback as a harbinger of imminent failure, we become our own worst enemies. In fact, when we accept the inevitablity of failure, we begin to equip ourselves with coping strategies on how we will move forward — before the setback has even occurred. We are better mentally primed to work past roadblocks and push through to the next level of success.

Set Up Small Rewards 
Saving money and sticking to a tough budget? Tell yourself you’ll take a (reasonable) vacation when you have a certain amount in your bank accont. Working on making it to a certain career milestone? Tell yourself you’ll buy that techy toy you’ve been craving once you land that special project or big promtion. Dangle a carrot in front of your own nose and you’ll find you hustle that much harder bringing your dreams into reality.

Focus on the End Result
The key to keeping difficult resolutions and making a large and marked personal change is on keeping the end result front-of-mind. When the going gets tough, the tough visualize on how good their future successes will feel if they follow-through on their promises. As a visual thinker, this year I’ll be making a vision board that I can revisit again and again when I need a fresh dose of motivation. When you meditate on how great you’ll feel six months from now with more money in the bank or fewer pounds on your frame, it will be that much easier to say no to small, daily temptations.

Keep a Record
Journaling can be a highly motivational tool. When we can look back at the past and see our progress, it just downright feels good. We may not end up exactly where we wanted to be, but we can see where we started. You know that Drake single, ‘Started from the Bottom?
Yeah, your journal should read and sound like that by the end of the year if you play your resolutions right.

With all that said, you may be wondering what my resolutions are. Here are the two I will be pouring my energies into. 

1. Plan for a bright future by mastering my personal finances. 
2. Grow my confidence and sense of purpose by spending more time on the side hustle

I'll be letting you know how it goes. In the meantime, here's to starting from the bottom and being here.