Whaaat? But I'm supposed to!
Well, sure, if you'd like to be like everyone else. You can also fail at those resolutions like nearly everyone else. It's said that 90 percent of resolutions go unmet. But instead of following the crowd and making vague promises of "doing better" this year, make new year's goals.
What's the difference? Resolutions are vague promises to do better at something. "Spend more time with the kids," "Try for that promotion at work," "Quit smoking," and "Lose some weight" are all good things to strive toward, but what do you mean by more time? When will you try for that promotion? How will you quit smoking? What do you plan to do to lose weight?
Make your goals S.M.A.R.T.:
Specific: Exactly what do you want to do? With whom? When is your time frame to accomplish this? How will you do it?
Measurable: How much do you want to accomplish in order for you to call it a success? Lose twenty pounds? Spend 30 minutes a day with each kid? How much? How many? Without this number, you don't really know if you met your goal. Get a number and stick to it.
Attainable: Ensure it's something you can do in the time frame you allow yourself. You can't (and if you can, you shouldn't) lose 20 pounds in January. Closely related to a goal's being attainable is its being ...
Realistic: Is this a goal that you're willing to put the time and energy toward? If you think your goal is a little too much there are two ways you can deal with that: 1) Even if you don't achieve your goal, you'll be in a better place than you were at the start of the year, or 2) Make smaller goals along the way. Changing a behavior is hard. Sometimes it's easier to go "cold turkey," and sometimes it's easier to ramp down (or up) to the new habit or behavior.
Timely: When do you want to get that promotion at work? By the end of the year? By summer? Someday? (Well, not someday, that doesn't fit in with this framework.) The more urgent something is, the more you're willing to work at it. Some people procrastinate with their goals. "Oh, I can do that in the second half of the year." Sure, but why? Unless there's something really preventing you from completing your goal as quickly as possible, why not work on it now? Get that goal out of the way!
Goal-making doesn't have to be limited to January 1, nor to the current calendar year. Suppose you make your goal to get all As in your classes at school. Congratulations! Now what? Well, how about taking an honors class in the fall? Or if you get that promption in April, why not set a goal for that next promotion in a year?
Students in taekwondo (or any martial art) have goals, usually for that next belt of theirs. Sometimes it's to learn a weapons form, or to advance to a championship match. But as soon as one goal is acheived, it's time to make another one. We're always moving ahead, moving forward, to better ourselves.
So don't resolve to do better next year. Plan to do better next year by making S.M.A.R.T. goals.