2011 is gone. Slowly but surely 2012 pokes its head out and reminds us that a new year is a new opportunity. Although technically you can “start over” any day, the turn in the calendar seems to spark a desire to make changes in our lives. So we create what we call the New Year’s Resolution: a set of goals to achieve throughout the year. However, this little rocket of motivation that comes with the beginning of something new, soon runs out of fuel and we find ourselves unaccomplished and unmotivated by May. I have three basic tips to help you stick to your 2012 New Years Resolutions (NYR).
First of all, you need to come up with a resolution that will stick. Americans tend to come up with the same resolutions; only to write them down again next year. Do not make a twelve bullet list your NYR. If you have many goals, come up with one resolution that will help you achieve them, but it needs to be specific and unique. For instance, if most of your 2012 goals have to do with career, making your NYR to “further your career” will do nothing for your motivation levels. Instead, try making it something more tangible like “getting a new position”. Replace vague statements such as “losing weight” with something you can remind yourself of and act upon on a daily basis like “reducing the size of my meals”. That way every time you try getting that third cucharon of rice and beans, you’ll stop in time.
Once your NYR have been put together, you need to think about the practicalities: how is this going to get done? This is when you need to break the year into shorter time intervals and make the steps towards your final achievement into short term goals. If you want to lose twenty pounds by the end of the year, break the regime into quarterly check-ups. You’ll see how much easier it is to focus on losing five pounds in three months. Or if your goal is to save money, putting away a certain amount, or percentage, of every paycheck biweekly will do better than trying to deposit a huge sum into your savings account randomly.
As the year progresses, you’ll encounter situations that you’re not counting on right now. In order to make the right choices when those doubtful moments come, you need to keep your self in check. Ask yourself regularly “how am I doing?” Be objective in your answers and reward or punish yourself accordingly. Let’s say you were determined to improve your grades this year and you just got a B-. Punish yourself by just studying a whole weekend while everyone else parties. It will remind you to set aside time during the week so you don’t miss out on a social life.
Make the New Year into the year of achievements, stay motivated and let that Latino smile shine in 2012.