How Many New Year’s Resolutions Should You Make?
A whopping 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. You might have come up with a list as golden and glitzy as your holiday decorations, but the sparkle eventually fades, and you’re left with the disappointment of letting go of those resolutions once again. Not to sound dramatic, but why set yourself up for failure year after year by setting too many unattainable goals? By thinking of resolutions as goals, you turn lofty notions into changes you really want to make and to which you’ll stay committed.
Importance of New Year’s Resolutions
New Year is a magical time of year for most people. You might get a period off work, spend some time with loved ones, enjoy the holidays and spring into a new year with a sense of wonderment and purpose. There’s no better time to think about what you want to accomplish in the foreseeable future. You might want to commit (or recommit) to an exercise routine, thus improving your health. You might choose to save money, which increases a safety net for your future. No matter what you set out to do, most people can say their resolutions will make their lives better, and that’s the entire reason why we make them.
How Many is Too Many?
You’ve probably set plenty of goals that ended up in the back burner, or we daresay the trash can, but you’ve also had ones that stuck and became lifestyle changes. These are the successes you want to focus on when making your New Year’s resolutions. Open your Passion Planner to the Passion Roadmap and ask yourself, “If I could do anything this year, what would it be?” What is on your wishlist for the next three months or the next year? Now, this next step is very important – write it down! Sometimes we get bogged down with long lists in our head and they can just fly out the window. Now choose one of those goals, add specific details to it, and create a timeline for making it happen.
You can repeat these steps for multiple goals, but don’t overload yourself – it’s easier said than done, but Entrepreneur suggests changing just one habit that will create the most change. Maybe that habit will be to meditate every day (or a couple times a week; start at a pace that works for you). Commit to using a gratitude jar. Consider focusing on being a better listener and friend. Whatever it is you think will make the most impact on your life, choose to make that your New Year’s resolution (yes, that’s “resolution” in the singular).
How to Accomplish New Year’s Resolutions
You can absolutely choose to make more than one resolution for the year, but don’t forget the most important quality of each goal – it needs to be attainable. Don’t be vague and don’t go into the resolution without a plan. For example, it’s not good enough to say “I resolve to be in better shape.” Are you going to involve an exercise routine? Will you seek help of a dietitian or make a lifestyle change with your food? There are about a million more questions about what you will actually do to get in “better shape.”
Instead, make it a goal to eat healthy 80 percent of the time and exercise at least three times a week. It’s a specific goal and has a description of how much you’re going to do. Use the Passion Planner monthly layouts to schedule “cheat days,” or that 20 percent of the time you can eat liberally. Write food menus in your weekly layouts, as well as which days you’ll go to the gym. At the end of each month, use the weekly reflections to see what progress you’ve made and perhaps what changes you can make to your goal for more growth in the next month.
The number of New Year’s resolutions to make is fluid and varies from person to person. Remember, the New Year’s resolutions you’ll stick to are ones that are achievable and relevant to you. Don’t expect perfection and beat yourself up if you fail at your goal for a day, a week or even a month. Pick it back up the next day and keep track of your goals and progress. Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back when you succeed at something, even if it’s seemingly small.
Cara Batema is a freelance writer and musician based in Los Angeles. She likes to write about the arts and psychology.