NEW YORK — The new year is often a time to set new goals. However, statistics show that very few people are successful in keeping their resolutions. Why? Likely, because they don’t have a realistic, long-term plan. And, as Ben Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
This year, create “SMART” goals—as in Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. Here are a few ideas on how to set yourself up for success with some of the most common New Year’s resolutions.
1. Focus on Fitness
According to a survey of adults who made a New Year’s resolution, the most popular goal (48%) was to exercise more. The best way to stick to it is to do something you enjoy. So whether it’s running, biking or yoga, find a way to make it fun. That might mean purchasing new workout clothes or equipment or finding a friend to join in to socialize with and to keep you going. Just remember to start slow, track your progress and you’ll soon be getting fit in your favorite way.
2. Connect with Family and Friends
With busy schedules, staying connected with friends and family can be difficult. Resolving to keep in touch can be easy though, thanks to new digital tools. Luckily, a subscription service like AmericanGreetings.com allows you to send a variety of digital greetings for any holiday or occasion. To ensure you keep in touch, the personalized greeting cards can be pre-scheduled for delivery by email up to one year in advance or can be sent via text or social media. Plus, you can even include a gift card. Best of all, one subscription unlocks access to the entire American Greetings’ online library, including SmashUps video greetings, Creatacard digital cards, and Pics & Wishes multi-media messages. Subscriptions are $6.99 per month or $29.99 per year.
3. Improve Finances
If improving your finances is one of your goals, the best place to start is to track your previous year’s expenses and categorize them. You might be shocked how those daily lattes or online impulse buys add up! Then, find a financial system that works for you. This could be as simple as a spreadsheet outlining and recording your set expenses and discretionary funds; or syncing your data to your online accounts utilizing a budget-tracking app. Once your system is in place, you’ll be able to find areas for improvement and set new financial goals for the future.
4. Get Organized
Getting organized is always a top resolution for the new year—and managing your schedule is a simple way to relieve stress and improve productivity. Start by outlining your daily, weekly or monthly commitments with a planner or online calendar. Google Calendar, for example, is a free option that allows you to view and color code appointments by category. Plus, by recording and prioritizing your responsibilities, you’ll also be able to see your free time, so you can make time for things you enjoy.
5. Make Time for Mental Health
In addition to improving physical fitness, managing mental wellness should be at the top of the resolution list. According to Mental Health First Aid, Americans cited enhanced self-confidence (64%), increased productivity (67%), and increased happiness (71%) as the top benefits of mental self-care. So, start your year by adding “mental break” moments to your daily and weekly schedule (maybe on your new calendar). Self-care can be anything from meditation and sleep, to cooking or reading, as long as it helps you decompress, unwind and find your mental zen.
New Year’s resolutions can feel overwhelming; but by using available tools to plan ahead and keep you on track, you’ll have realistic ways to achieve your goals.