Successful New Years’ Resolutions require work throughout the year and the purpose of this article is to give you a guide you can use to reach your goals in 2011. Use these guidelines to give yourself a chance to complete the goals in a reasonable time frame. Most resolutions are abandoned by the 3rd week of January because people have failed to meet their own unrealistic, excessively high expectations.
January – Write your New Years’ Resolutions no later than the first week of January. Write them as if they have already happened. For example: In 2011, I passed the CPA exam, or In 2011 I was much more patient with my children. Limit yourself to 3. Post them in several places, where they will be seen every day (e.g. bathroom mirror, refrigerator, desk, dresser).
February – Begin each day by reading your resolutions aloud. One day a week, sit down with paper and pencil and break your goals into the steps that lead to the completion of the goal. For example: To clean out the garage, you may need to 1) Move the car onto the driveway, 2) Empty the shelves into the middle of the garage, 3) Sort things into piles of keep, trash, or donate, 4) Throw the garbage away, 5) arrange to have donations picked up, and 6) find appropriate storage for the retained items.
March – Set aside a reasonable amount of time to complete each step of each resolution and put it on your calendar. Schedule the activities to occur in April, May, June, and July.
April, May, June, and July – Use the 17 weeks of April, May, June, and July to complete the individual steps that will move you towards successful achievement of your resolutions.
August – Assessment time. Either you will have successfully achieved all of your resolutions by this time, or you will be struggling with one or more of them. The good news is that there’s still plenty of time left in the year for you to recommit and refocus your efforts if it’s just more time that you need. Set aside time in September and October to get final steps completed.
September – If you are stumped and not making much progress at all, now’s the time to call in some help. Ask a family member or friend to help you reach your goal(s) by the end of the year. If you don’t feel comfortable asking someone you know, hire a professional. You might need a personal trainer, a therapist, a professional organizer, a career counselor, an interior decorator, or a tutor. Don’t be too proud to get the help you need. Three months still remain and great progress can be made in that time.
October – Use the entire month to work steadily towards your goals. All the preparation should be in place. Earlier steps will be completed. Now it is just time to place the finishing touches on your hard work and see how close you can get to complete achievement of your goals.
November – Save November for emergencies that may have thrown you off of your plan earlier in the year. Maybe a twisted ankle or a faulty car transmission stopped your plans for 5-6 weeks during the year. Use November to play catch-up if you need it. If not, enjoy the success you have achieved and remember to say thanks to all those who helped you accomplish it.
December – First week of December: reflect back on the years’ experiences and delight in your progress. Second week: Identify a few areas in which you’d like to see more progress next year. Relax and enjoy the final few weeks of the year knowing you earned the vacation.