New Years AchievementsBy Catherine Pulsifer, © 2008
The New Year symbolizes the ending of one year and the beginning of yet another. We celebrate this event, send new year wishes, yet it is only a moment in time, like any other day.
A happy new year quote said by Hamilton Wright Mabie rienforces the thought that it is just another night: "New Year's eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights."
However what Hamilton points out here for some reason we think differently on this night. We stop and reflect on the year gone by, some set resolutions, and others set goals. But we all think differently on the eve of a new year. That night we think of what we want to change. We look forward with anticipation to a new year beginning, and, for some of us, we are happy to see the old year go.
Why Do Resolutions Fail
Many of us set resolutions only to be disappointed by not achieving them. The statement sounds good and it is truly something we want to achieve. We find resolutions are often discussed. People will ask you what resolutions are you setting for the new year. I'm not sure why this tradition started, but it is one that is carried on today. The majority of resolutions do fail; we may start out with enthusiasm and determination but in most cases it dwindles out after the first month or in some cases the first week. We settle back into our routine and the resolution becomes secondary or is forgotten about altogether.
Why do New Years Resolutions fail?
Mainly, because they are only a statement, or what we wish for in the coming year. There are usually no action plans, no deadlines, no back up plans. Sometimes they are unrealistic resolutions, with no other thought or plans beside the statement.
I was recently reading an article in our local paper that discussed not setting New Years Resolutions, but rather acknowledging your achievements of the past year. These thoughts reminded me of a quote by Ellen Goodman: "We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential."
We set resolutions because we want something to change in our life. But if we are not specific and have no detailed plans about how we are going to change it then we can expect things to remain as they currently are. And we will end the year without the resolution accomplished. So rather than set them if we should recognize what we have accomplished in the past year and build on them, where is there the potential to do more, to be more. Once we identify those things we should set goals not resolutions. (more on goals further in the article)
You may recognize some of the common resolutions:
- I am going to help others more, I will get involved and volunteer my time or give away more of my money;
- getting out of debt, I will get rid of all credit card debt;
- lose weight, I will lose 25 pounds
- enjoy life more; I will work less and play more
- spend more time with family; I will set aside quality time for my family
- quit smoking or drinking; I am going to quit this year
- organization of home; I am getting rid of the clutter in my house
- get more exercise; I am going to join a gym or start walking every day
- learn something new; I am going to take a course
- get a better job; I am going to look for a job I like
the list could go on and on.
Goals Are Different Than Resolutions
After the holidays are over rather than setting resolutions you may want to look at setting goals for the coming year. Goals are very different than resolutions. Goals have time frames attached to them; they have action plans for each step; they are written down.
When setting your goals, don't forget to develop your action plans with deadlines for each step to achieve your final goal.
The art of setting goals properly so that you are in a good position to achieve them is to not only write your goals down but to include each action that you need to take to accomplish your goal. One thing to do is to sit with another person after you have finished this step and let someone who has no knowledge of what you want to accomplish read each step. The reason is this: if someone else reads the steps and does not really know what to do or is confused, then you have a good indication that your steps are not complete.
The next step is to set a specific date for each of these action steps. This is critical because you want to create a sense of urgency in order to move forward. The more progress you can make within a short period of time the better. It is this momentum that you want to keep so you actually see tangible proof that your plan is working.
A New Beginning
You will accomplish so much more if you just enjoy the New Years, recognize your success rather than setting a resolution that you may never achieve. Celebrate New Years with a new beginning by setting goals.
Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:
"Try and do something new every day. You should attempt this even if it means speaking to a new person every day. When we try new things, we feel energized, excited and happy." Brenda Nathan
"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day." Edith Lovejoy Pierce
"Every day is a new beginning. Treat it that way. Stay away from what might have been, and look at what can be." Marsha Petrie Sue
"Instead of asking yourself what everyone else's opinion is going to be and how your action will be perceived by others, ask yourself, 'How do I want my life to be lived?' Then proceed to take a small risk in the direction of that new action." Wayne Dyer
"The calendar is changing, a new year is beginning. And like all new beginnings it is a time to reflect on what you want in your life. Let this new year be a time when you set your goals and achieve what you perhaps only once dreamed of." Catherine Pulsifer
"Every single time that something goes well for you, even the tiniest little achievement, be pleased with yourself." Rebecca Turner
"Every morning you are handed 24 golden hours. They are one of the few things in this world that you get free of charge. If you had all the money in the world, you couldn't buy an extra hour. What will you do with this priceless treasure?" Author Unknown
"If you are doing the things that are moving you toward the attainment of your goal, then you are "successful" even if you are not there yet." Meir Liraz
"The goal you set must be challenging. At the same time, it should be realistic and attainable, not impossible to reach. It should be challenging enough to make you stretch, but not so far that you break." Rick Hansen
"If you are uncomfortable with the idea of change, you can ease yourself into the winning mentality of 'change is good' by adopting little variations to your day to day life." Danielle Tinning, How to Succeed
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