The start of a new year can feel like a lot of pressure. We’re all making resolutions to be better, prettier, thinner, calmer, more ambitious. We’re making plans — plans we’ll stick to this time, we swear. But life, inevitably, has plans of its own, which often don’t jive with our ideas and we get frustrated when, just a few days into the new year, we’ve already broken whatever nigh-impossible resolutions we’ve set for ourselves.
‘Tis the way of the world, but it doesn’t have to be. At least not for you. Let everyone else make their unattainable resolutions; but you? You shouldn’t feel the pressure to do that. Here are some ways to make goals for 2014 without setting yourself up for failure.
Only create resolution(s) if it’s something you want to do. As with anything, you shouldn’t engage in anything just because it seems like everyone else is. That’s an easy way to start the year on a bad foot; you’ll feel frustrated and weighed down by arbitrary goals that don’t actually matter to you. Create resolutions or don’t, but whatever you do, do it because you’d like to — no one else. Similarly, if you do make resolutions, make sure they focus on things that matter to you.
Keep your goals attainable. Whether it’s December 31 or January 1, you are still you. So if you weren’t much of a fitness guru in 2013, making your 2014 resolution to work out for an hour every day is a bit lofty. It’s not to say that you can’t do it, but just that it’s easier to reach smaller goals to start. A resolution like “work out three times a week” is something more doable.
Be specific. Vague goals can seem great in theory — be kinder, relax more, be more open-minded — but with them, there is nothing specific to achieve. How do you measure your success? These lofty ideas can leave you feeling like you didn’t accomplish much of anything at the year’s end. These lofty ideas are perfect starting points, though. What exactly do you mean by “be kinder”? To who? Doing what? How often? Something like, “Call mom once a week just to check in” can create a viable end result.
But don’t be too rigid. We’re human and we may mess up on a resolution or two. It’s all right if our goal is to floss every day and we miss a night. We’re not failures if that happens!
Document your progress. It may not be for everyone, but keeping track of your goals can be kind of fun. If you’re going to try to be more fashionable in 2014, take pictures of your outfits and post them on your Instagram account. If you want to write more, keep a journal or a blog. It can hold you accountable (if you like that type of thing, of course!) or give you a way to look back on your goals once the year is through.
Keep the list short. A long, laundry list of things to do “better” in the upcoming year can feel overwhelming. Chances are, you’re pretty great the way you are. So pick just a few things to focus on and really give those your attention.
Nix the “goals” altogether. By definition, a resolution is simply “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” So forget goals and turn your resolutions list into a bucket list. Your list for 2014 could say anything: climb a mountain, visit a winery, stop by a farmer’s market, read 12 books. This can help make your resolutions list seem less daunting and way more fun.
And, if all else fails, just go ahead and make a “fuck it” list instead.