7 Ways to Keep Your “New Year, New Me” Resolutions.
By Luisa Florez
For many, the month of January is an exciting one. We envision new goals for the new year with such enthusiasm that it seems almost certain that this year will be the one where we keep and fulfill our resolutions. However, as many of us know, meeting our New Year resolutions tend to be a challenge. It can be hard to remember the excitement and determination we had on January 1st, and as the year goes on, that can translate to putting our goals on hold. It doesn’t have to be like that. Whether it’s a personal goal, like running a marathon, or a professional one, like becoming a research assistant, here are seven ways to help you stay on the path to fulfill your resolutions, regardless if you decided to start them on January 1st, today or in the next month. In other words, it’s never too late to start.
- Write it down and place it somewhere you can easily see it.
- Be specific with your goal. If your goal is to strengthen your networking skills, write down what that means. Does it mean meeting more with your professors during office hours, or does it mean attending more STEM conferences? The more specific you can be, the easier it will be for you to plan and act in way to accomplish your resolution. You can also write down why you want to accomplish this goal, for those days where it may seem like a better idea to postpone it until next year.
- Break down your year-long goals into smaller, short-term goals.
- Breaking down your long-term goal into smaller goals can make the process seem less overwhelming and can provide bursts of enthusiasm and encouragement as you start to meet these smaller goals. For example, let’s say your goal is to attend a SHPE National Conference and you need to save up money for your trip. Instead of having one goal of saving $400 dollars by the time National Conference starts, you can set smaller goals like saving $50 each month, which gives you a specific target to meet. Breaking down your main goal into smaller ones can also help you adjust your plan accordingly based on your progress.
- Track your progress.
- Feel like running every day is getting you nowhere? Lucky you, you wrote down your running time for the past 3 weeks and saw that your mile time has gone down by 20 seconds! Talk about motivation! As engineers and scientists, we love data. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a lot of data points on a graph, analyzing them and coming up with conclusions. Why not do the same with your New Year resolutions? Whether it’s an Excel spreadsheet, a cool new app, a habit tracker or even a To-Do list, track your progress; it will give you a bigger picture.
- Find your cheerleader and tell them.
- This one is really important. Tell your friends and family; they are rooting for your success. They can help you when times get tough and can hold you accountable to meeting your goal. Whether its promising to be someone’s gym buddy, or giving out “Because I said so” cards like Alex Sheen, it’s always nice to know you have someone that is rooting you on to the finish line.
- Don’t let past experiences demotivate you and acknowledge goals require work.
- We’ve all been part of that group that didn’t meet their resolutions. It might have been that we gave up trying or maybe we did try, we just didn’t succeed. Yes, the feeling may not be the best, but failure should not deter us from trying again. If anything, it should teach us to understand that reaching our goals requires work, and that makes them all the more satisfying when we reach them. They should become a lesson on what worked and what didn’t, and should become a source of motivation to try a little harder to reach this year’s goal.
- Be flexible.
- Life happens. Sometimes it happens in ways we never expected and could have never prepared for. Adjust around that. If that means dropping a goal and substituting it with one that better fits your current situation, then go for it! The important thing is, you’ve tracked your progress, can make informed decisions with it and have a support systems backing you up no matter what your goals may be.
- Reflect. It’s never too late to start.
- Some of the greatest opportunities to learn come from self-reflection. As you begin the new year and progress toward your goals, take the time to think about how you’ve grown, what obstacles you’ve overcome, what challenges lay ahead, what you’re liking, and what you are not. If you need to readjust your resolution, then so be it. If you got off track for a month or so, there’s no need to wait until next year to start your resolution again. Just pick up from where you left off. It’s not necessarily about how long it took you to reach your goal; it’s about the journey you took to achieve it.