I wanted to do this post before New Years Eve…but that obviously did not happen. I wanted to make my New Year’s Resolution something practical and doable. As part of my personal quest to make my life better I didn’t want to just make some stupid and unrealistic resolution knowing that there was no way I was going to keep it. There are lots of things that I plan to do, and lots of things that I would like to do. The problem is being realistic and picking something that is likely to happen. If I am making positive changes in my life it is not very positive to start the New Year with a resolution that I know from the start is setting myself up for failure.
To narrow my list down I decided on some requirements that my resolution had to meet to be be acceptable.
- It must be realistic. This is the one I think is most important. If it is not realistic then you are doomed to fail. If I had decided that my resolution was to loose weight as a 280 lb man it would be realistic for me to say, “I will be under 250 lbs by New Year 2014.” It would not be realistic at all for me to say, “I will be the right weight for my height according to the charts that the doctor keeps showing me.” Could the second statement happen? Yes, but it is about as likely to happen as me becoming the next Powerball Jackpot winner.
- It must be measurable. It is great to say “I will be nicer to people this year.” However, that is not really measurable. There is not much point in making a resolution if you do not have a way to look back later and evaluate if you lived up to it. A better way to do this is think of something that you would consider “being nicer to people” and set a measurable goal around that. Maybe helping out a neighborhood youth program or a community food pantry would qualify. You could say, “I will volunteer one Saturday a month at the youth center,” or maybe go with, “I will buy $X worth of groceries to donate to the food pantry each month.” Making it specific and measurable lets you know if you are living up to your goal.
- It must be practical. I have not heard anybody give this advice, but I am sure someone has. I am a creature of habit. I am not a fan of change at all. If I am going to make a change and follow through with it I need to see a reason for it and it needs to fit into my life or it will not happen. For this reason it needs to be something that is a practical change in my everyday life. Once upon a time when I worked in an office and the fitness center was right across the street it was practical for me to go workout 2 hours before i had to be at my desk in the morning. Now that I am disabled I am not driving clear across town daily when I have no other reason to leave the house. If it does not fit my daily routine…forget it…not happening.
So what did I come up with when I filtered my ideas through these requirements? I decided to expand on my cleaning and organizing my life project that has been going on for a while and incorporate improvements to my home which I have done no work on in over a decade. I decided it was past time to do something, even if I just work on one room a month I have more than enough time, I can set measurable goals of what needs to get done each month, and I am disabled so I am right here every day all day long with it is staring me in the face so I have no way to ignore it.
My resolution for 2013 is to paint my house inside and out and refinish my hardwood floors. If I am able to get this done and still have time left over I will work on the landscape features in my yard.
The second sentence in that resolution does not fit with my requirement to be measurable, but it is not really the resolution. The resolution is the house painting and refinishing the hardwoods. What I decided to do was add on something in writing for when I meet my resolution. I decided that this was a good idea for two reasons. First, when I get to the point that I am doing upgrades to the yard work then I can feel good while I am doing something that I enjoy knowing that I have finished my resolution. Second, it keeps the planned productivity going by having a Plan B already decided on for when I finish Plan A.
Let me know your resolutions and any strategies you have for making them and living up to them.