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Creating Resolutions That Don’t End in January: New Methods I Am Using to Make Lasting Changes

As someone who was born on New Year’s Day, you can say that I am usually more excited than the average person to ring in the new year. Now I’m not someone who goes out or has a party to celebrate, but I am always excited to… plan—sounds a little boring right? Maybe it is because I am a Capricorn or maybe I am just so anxious without a plan, but either way, I look forward to the day(s) where I can sit down with a cup of tea and plan out the upcoming year. My dilemma, however, is that I spend hours of my time creating planners on Canva, vision boards with pictures from Pinterest, and watching TikToks to get motivated and inspired for the upcoming year yet I usually never look at the plans again until the following year. Sounds kind of counterproductive, but to be fair not many people actually stick with their resolutions past January. As I start my final semester of undergrad and start thinking about my job starting in July, I decided to change the way I plan for the new year to hopefully see some real changes by the end of 2022.

Ways to Thoughtfully and Effectively Plan for 2022

  • Organize my goals into categories
  • Change the way I phrase my goals
  • Think about what steps I need to take to achieve these goals
  • Think about why I want to achieve these goals
  • Consider how achievement of these goals will be measured
  • Make an effort to revisit my goals at the end of every month
Organize goals into categories

It can be overwhelming to randomly list goals that I want to achieve in the new year. The organization will help me focus on one specific area at a time as well as elaborate where I need more direction. For example, I may be thinking about how I want to lose weight or eat healthier—slightly vague. I instead will have a category titled “Health and Fitness” where I will list achievable goals that have to do with Health and Fitness. From there I can think about how I plan to lose weight and describe the frequency of my exercise or the recipes I want to try to eat healthier. By thinking of a few areas to start off the planning process, I can make more targeted goals to achieve what I want to by the end of the year.

My Categories for This Year: Health and Fitness, Travel, Reading, Cooking/Baking, Beauty/Makeup, Hair, Self-Love, Experiences, Academics, Career, DC Living

Change the way Goals are written

Usually, I write goals that follow the SMART model, which is beneficial because it goes beyond a vague statement and actually gives me something to measure to ensure that I am actually achieving the goals at the end of the time period. For example, writing “I want better grades” can be rewritten to say “I want to make a 93 or above in ACCT 2101 by May 2022. This is specific, measurable, achievable (if you study effectively), relevant, and time-bound. For my resolutions this year, I am revising this model by writing these SMART goals in the present tense. Since I am moving to Washington, DC post-graduation, I want to fully experience the Smithsonian museums. To write this goal in the present tense in the Experiences category (see above), “I visit at least one museum a month”. This is a specific goal without limiting what museum I go to. At the end of each month I can ask myself, did I go to a museum this month, therefore it is measurable. I will be at any given moment a metro ride away from a Smithsonian when in DC or a quick UGA Transit bus ride away from the Georgia Museum of Art—achievable. I consider this goal to be relevant because I want to experience the arts. Finally, it is time-bound both by the month and also by the end of the year when I look back at these goals. Writing the goals in the present tense is more of a method of “manifesting” but it tricks your mind into thinking this is something that is already being done and is less overwhelming to achieve.

Identify Steps To Achieve Goals

In my experience, I usually focus on the destination as opposed to the journey—in other words, I focus on the end result of the goal rather than the steps needed to achieve said goal. One change I am making is to think about what specific steps I will need to take to achieve them in advance. This also helps with time management because it gives me an idea of what I need to make time for in the short run to achieve my goals in the long run. This works well with the Health and Fitness category. Revisiting the earlier example, “I want to eat healthier”, I will update this to fit the SMART and present tense structure: “I eat at least 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables a day.” The steps needed to achieve this goal will vary depending on if I am eating in a dining hall or cooking my meals at home. If I know I want to cook dinner at home 3 nights a week as dictated by another goal in my Cooking/Baking category, then I will need to prepare ahead of time and plan to buy vegetables and fruit ahead of time.

Finally, I want to take the time to think about why I want to achieve these goals. This will help me stay focused on the things I truly care about and want to see happen by the end of the year as opposed to writing down goals for the sake of just having them. When you make your goals think about each one and why you want to achieve them. Ask yourself, “how will I feel if this were true today…if I achieved these goals today?”

The main change that will ensure that these goals continue past January, is to revisit the goals frequently. Every day might be excessive, so I plan to review my plans at the end of every month to see how well I am doing and make any necessary revisions for the upcoming month. By keeping the goals fresh in my mind, I won’t wait until December 2022 to see how I did this year.

I am excited to see how these changes help this year and I hope some of these ideas help you create goals that will lead to lasting changes that make you happy this year!

Brianna Mays is one of the Campus Correspondents for Her Campus at UGA. She was born and raised in Gwinnett County, GA. She is a Terry Business Student majoring in Management: Human Resouces with a minor in Spanish and Fashion Merchandising.
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