Making and Keeping New Year’s Resolutions
By Erin Rebello
When December 31st rolled around, we counted down the seconds until the New Year, crossing our fingers for a better 2021. Although we can’t control the pandemic or external events, there are things we can do on a personal level that can make 2021 the best year ever! One way to stay in control is by making New Year’s resolutions, which is a tradition for many people around the world. While you certainly don’t have to wait until New Year’s Day to set a goal, having a fresh slate might just be the motivation you need to start!
When thinking about potential New Year’s resolutions, think about what you’d like to achieve next year. One thing that helps me when creating new year’s goals is looking at how I can improve in the different areas of my life, such as at home, in school, with my hobbies, or even my health. I usually start with a general idea of what I want to achieve, and then go more into detail. Below are a few generalized goals that you can use to jumpstart your ideas for resolutions:
- “I want to exercise more”
- “I want to do better in school”
- “I want to be a kinder person to others”
- “I want to eat healthier”
After you have a general idea of what you want to do, you’ll need to go a step further and change your goal into a SMART goal. A SMART goal is essentially a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. Let’s take the goal “I want to exercise more” and transform it into a SMART goal!
- Specific: Be as clear as possible when writing out your goal. You want to exercise, but perhaps you’d specifically like to do more cardiovascular exercise, like running.
- Measurable: In order to know if you’re coming closer to your goal, you need to have a way to measure your progression. In this case, you might choose to measure your progress by seeing how your long-distance running improves over time.
- Attainable: Your goal needs to be realistic and doable, otherwise you’ll feel overwhelmed and you might not even want to start. For example, it may not be realistic to set a goal of running a marathon, so your goal might instead be a 5 km race by the end of next year.
- Relevant: In order to feel motivated to follow your New Year’s resolution, it needs to be relevant to your life. In this case, exercise may be relevant to you, as you want to get fit, or maybe make the cross-country team.
- Time-Based: Perhaps the most important part of any SMART goal is the time-based aspect. By setting a deadline, you make your goal easier to understand and follow through with. With this goal specifically, you might say that you want to exercise four times a week instead of simply “more often”.
When we combine all aspects of the SMART goal, we transform “I want to exercise more” into the following:
“I want to do cardiovascular exercise four times a week so that I can make the cross-country team and reach my goal of running a 5 km race by the end of next year. I will know that I’m making progress if I’m increasing how far I can run over time.”
Using this simple template, you can create your very own SMART goals and make 2021 your year to shine! Good luck!