What are you going to resolve this coming year? New Year’s resolutions have become an ingrained part of our culture. The top New Years’ resolutions according to the people that keep track of those things are “losing weight” and “getting financially healthy” but what if you are okay in both of those areas? You may be searching for some meaningful New Years resolutions to replace those.
New Years resolutions can be a great way to make changes with a definitive start date. You want to be sure that you are picking meaningful new years resolutions that you can stick with. About 80% of people that make New Years resolutions are done with them by March.
How It All Got Started
You may not know, most people do not, but New Years resolutions are not a new post-industrialization idea. The idea that we can make promises to ourselves to make changes during the upcoming year started about 4,000 years ago. You read that right. Ancient Babylonians are credited with the start of this tradition.
Of course, in ancient times, the idea of meaningful New Years resolutions likely looked very different than ours, but it still, in fact, was a tradition. The ancient Babylonians celebrated the New Year in March, not in January and it kind of all revolved around the planting of their crops. Which of course, meant that meaningful new years resolutions focused on things they could do to appease the Gods in control of their crops that year.
Today we largely focus on self-improvement when we talk about meaningful new years resolutions and a lot less on what we can do to keep the food supply a success. The deal with the Babylonians and their meaningful new years resolutions was that if they made a promise for the new year and kept that promise then the Gods would smile on them and keep their crops healthy. If they broke their resolution then famine would befall their family and other nasty plights would follow. They really had some high stake motivation to keeping their new years resolution.
Why do we make resolutions and not keep them? According to the experts, at least 80% of us thumb our nose at our promises to ourselves in the first quarter of the year. Why? Is the bigger problem that we are just not making meaningful new years resolutions?
What if We Changed What We Promised?
What if we took a whole new approach to make new years resolutions? Let’s take a look at how making meaningful new years resolutions could promote that motivational stake that we needed to keep our promises.
First we have to take a look at what exactly makes New Years resolutions into meaningful new years resolutions. We can use the ancient Babylonians as an example. They made new years resolutions and if they did not keep them there was going to be untold suffering. That may be a little extreme but there is something to having to pay the piper if you do not keep your promise.
The consequences of not keeping your new years resolution should be measurable. For example, if you have resolved to get some carpet cleaning done, and you don’t, you will wind up with dirty carpeting, but that may not be enough of a consequence to keep your resolution.
What if you had to pay yourself or someone else if you broke your promise? That would likely keep you on track. When you are thinking about what resolutions to make this year enlist the help of a friend or family member to keep you on track. Promise yourself that every time you stray from your new years goals that you will have to pop an extra $20 in savings or better yet donate to a charity. Not saying that you will not be honest with yourself, but, you should have someone on board to keep track of things with you, just in case you veer off track.
While it is fine to put that kitchen remodeling on your list of resolutions. You want to make sure that the resolution is meaningful to you and enough so that you will stick to it. How can you choose meaningful new years resolutions? Keep reading.
Making It Personal
Choosing meaningful new years resolutions for self-improvement should be focused on attainable goals. Making small goals and reaching them will help you to stick to your resolution. For example, if weight loss is on your radar that is okay, but you should spread the goal out. Instead of making a promise to lose 25 pounds this coming year, set monthly goals.
Instead of promising 25 pounds in a year, resolve to lose 4 pounds in January. Then make goals for every month after. No one has ever said that you cannot make meaningful new years resolutions that can’t be spread out through the year.
What if your resolution is the other top resolution, and you want to work on your financial health? That can be spread out throughout the year as well. If you are tired of going to the pawn shop at the end of the month to get a loan to tide you over till the next paycheck. Start by stashing some cash each month. Make a deal to pay yourself first every paycheck. Start out with small goals in January, and then up the ante each month.
It can be overwhelming when you make meaningful new years resolutions and you have to address all the changes at once. It is a lot easier if you set a goal list for each month and achieve that goal and then move forward. Before you know it that 25 pounds will be gone by this time next year and you could have a nice little nest egg put up.
This approach can work with any of the self-improvement resolutions for the new year. For example, what if you need to improve your health this year? You can start with a head to toe work up. Make appointments for January and February with dentists, doctors, and other health care providers you have been putting off. Then follow their advice to a healthier you by following through each month with a new healthy change.
If you have been putting off physical therapy appointments to attend to that old knee injury that flairs up make it a priority and get it done. If you haven’t had an eye exam in a while or a hearing test, pencil that in for one of the 12 months of the year. You can address all the health care things you have been putting off this year.
You can approach your home improvement resolutions using the same model. Rome was not built in a day and neither should all your home improvements be done at the same time. If you are ready to get serious about energy savings and have solar panels on your list of home improvement upgrades, go ahead and schedule that install for January. If energy savings is not a priority but redoing that old sad looking bathroom is then schedule that for January. Each month pick a small project to complement that one big project that you have on your radar, by the beginning of next year your home will have the facelift that you were dreaming about.
You get 12 months every year, you can control what you do with those months. You can use the time to work toward your goals, or you cannot. It is all under your control what you do with your time, and how you move forward this year.
Make it Count Figuratively and Literally
Meaningful new years resolutions do not have to be about self they can be about the greater good. You can better your community with meaningful new years resolutions. For example, if you have an auto repair shop, you can commit to one pro bono act of kindness each month. Providing free auto repairs once a month to those in need are great meaningful new years resolutions.
If you have a landscape company consider donating some time to providing landscape installations for public areas, or neighbors in need. Whatever your skillset is, you can parlay it into meaningful new years resolutions that can make a difference in your community.
There is something to be said for committing to help others. When you help other people you get a feeling of satisfaction that far surpasses meeting your own personal goals. Of course, you do not have to be limited to one type of meaningful new years resolutions. You can make resolutions for self-improvement and make resolutions to help out in the community.
Make It Rewarding
As humans we all work better on the reward system. If you are being rewarded for sticking to your resolutions then you are far more likely to keep moving forward with your resolutions. Let’s go back to that weight loss goal as an example.
Let’s say you set up your weight goal resolutions in increments. Every time you meet a goal you should reward yourself. How do you reward yourself for losing weight? Well, we know you can’t go and get that ice cream sundae because that will just undo what you have done, but you can hit up the spas for a day of relaxation and pamper.
The rewards do not have to be huge. They can be small gestures of kindness towards yourself. Visit flower shops and pick out your favorite flowers to sit on your desk as a reminder that you are making strides towards your goal. Simple rewards can go a long way in helping you stay on track.
Set up a system where you are reminded to reward yourself. Set an alarm for the end of the month to weigh yourself, check your bank account, or assess the other resolution progress you have made so far. It is a great feeling to watch your goals unfold before your eyes.
Write it All Down
There is something about writing down meaningful new years resolutions that make them a lot more real. It is one thing to talk the talk, but it is an entirely different thing to see them in writing. Writing is a contract with yourself.
Don’t make your list electronically. Write it out, then tuck it in your wallet and revisit what you wrote down often. It will be a visual reminder of what you have promised to do this year. Writing something down always makes an idea more concrete.
You can even take it a step further and draw up a formal contract with yourself. Sign and date it and list the repercussions if you do not keep your promise. It may sound silly to contract with yourself but it can be a powerful tool in keeping you on track.
If you really want to be sure that you will stay on track, share your list or contract with a family member that you know will push you to succeed. Sometimes we have to go outside of ourselves to make sure we stay accountable. You can share your list with family or friends that you know want to support you on your journey this year.
Self Speak Is Important
How you speak to yourself really matters when it comes to sticking to your resolutions. You want to avoid negative thoughts and language. Practice positive thinking about sticking to your meaningful new Year resolutions. Tell yourself that you can. Reward yourself mentally when you do. Tell yourself what a good job you are doing. Expect to be able to stick to your resolutions and you will.
For some people visualization works really well. Visualize yourself succeeding and how it will feel this time next year when you have lived a year working toward your goal. If you need more of a push create a vision board and tack on pictures of what you want for your life. It can help.
Happy New Year and Good Luck
Whatever meaningful new Year resolutions you have resolved for yourself remember you are in control and you can achieve your goals. With a little extra forethought, and some serious commitment, one year from now you can have reached your goal and feel a lot better about life.
Here is hoping this new year everyone finds good health, happiness, and the conviction to make their resolutions a reality.