I don’t really believe in making New Year’s resolutions. Most of the time you don’t end up keeping them, and then you just feel worse because you committed to something and didn’t follow through with it. Resolutions shouldn’t necessarily be things to stop doing or to get rid of, but instead they should be about embracing a different mindset. If part of getting happier for you does mean dropping some bad habits — great. But the real key to making your life amazing this year is to find what makes you happy and do whatever it takes to get it and keep it. Here are some ways to make this the best year of your whole life.

  1. Do something that scares the sh*t out of you.
  2. Spend time with people who make your life better.
  3. Let yourself sleep in sometimes.
  4. Take a day off just because you want to.
  5. Clean everything in your house.
  6. Pick up a new hobby that makes you happy.
  7. Perform random acts of kindness for people.
  8. Don’t bring work home with you.
  9. Read a book that will change your life.
  10. Give people the benefit of the doubt.
  11. Eat healthy (mostly).
  12. Don’t dwell on things you can’t change.
  13. Travel somewhere you’ve never been.
  14. Do something that makes you feel accomplished.
  15. Get rid of things (and people!) you don’t need.
  16. Quit a job you hate.
  17. Do something — big or small — that you’re really proud of.
  18. Find a productive way to channel your stress.
  19. Don’t take everything too seriously.
  20. Find a type of exercise you love, and do it as often as you can.
  21. Make time just for yourself.
  22. Eat something you’ve never tried.
  23. Let yourself get SUPER excited about an event, a new book or movie, a trip, or anything else you love.
  24. Finish something you started.
  25. Work toward reaching a career goal you’ve set your mind to.
  26. Forgive someone.
  27. Check a few more things off your bucket list.
  28. Take a class about something you’re really interested in.
  29. Get obsessed with a new TV series.
  30. Explore new places in your own city.
  31. Make an effort to stay in touch with friends and family.
  32. Start or add to a savings account.
  33. Adopt an animal.
  34. Treat yourself to something you’ve been wanting forever.
  35. Volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about.
  36. Decide what you want, and go f*cking get it.

Image Source: Getty / We Are

Top 10 Life-Changing New Year’s Resolutions for 2020

It’s a fact that changes don’t happen overnight, yet every year we make New Year’s resolutions, believing next year is going to be different. It’s high time we realised that we have to make real strides all year round to bring even the smallest lifestyle changes into our lives. But we all need a start date to focus on, don’t we? When we have a start date, it gives that date an air of importance and seriousness it deserves. Setting a date not only builds up anticipation and enthusiasm, but also helps in planning and making arrangements for bringing that change. New Year is fast approaching so now’s your chance to take a look at your life and make a list of resolutions to help you accomplish a personal goal or improve your overall lifestyle in 2020.

Embrace minimalism

Well, there’s more to life than just material possessions. Minimalistic culture is one of the coolest and most beneficial ways of life. As opposed to consumerism, minimalism can be defined as living a purpose-driven life by owning fewer material possessions and letting go of the excess personal belongings that are lying idle in your attic or garage. As per the book- “Live a Meaningful Life”, by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus- “Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favour of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfilment, and freedom”. Clutter in your house is clutter in your mind. Take a real life example – you just got a call from your friend and she has invited you over to her place for a weekend get together. After you hang up, the first thing you do is head straight to your closet to find an appropriate dress for the occasion. But because you have hundreds of dresses to choose from, the anxiety of not finding a suitable dress will soon overshadow the excitement of being invited to a party. Start your new year by practising minimalism. It not only makes room for the important things in life but helps you make wise buying decisions when you are bombarded with sales offers. Make a 90 day rule. If you haven’t used something for the last 90 days and won’t be using it for the next 90 days, discard it. As someone once said, “Travelling the world becomes easier if all your belongings can fit into your backpack”.

Create a work-life balance

If you describe yourself as super-stressed, you are not balanced, you are not healthy. While certain amount of stress is required to spur us on, too much of it can make us irritable, depressed and susceptible to various ailments. Superman and Wonder Woman are fictional characters. Don’t try to emulate them in real life. The hurry to “get it all done” at work as well as at home can only leave you stressed. Create a work-life balance by setting priorities, remember all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Make some time for your friends and family in your busy schedule, so that you have something to look forward to at the weekend. Drop activities that sap your time and energy. For instance, one of the most time consuming activities is scrolling through your social media feed all the time. You could also save time by doing your grocery shopping online and instead book a date night with your loved one. These little changes will help you enjoy a good work-life balance in the coming year. In the words of Nigel Marsh, the author of Fit, Fifty and Fired Up “If you don’t design your life, someone else will design it for you, and you may just not like their idea of balance”.

Take control of your finances

A good budget can save a marriage. Yes, you heard me right! One of the many reasons married couples decide to split is their inability to manage finances well. Over 50% of marriages end in divorce and the primary reason for separation is financial disputes. The first thing you can do to take control of your finances is make a budget and then stick to it, no matter what. In the words of Dave Ramsay, a popular American business and radio host, and – “You must take control of your money, or the lack of it will forever control you”. To tame this unruly beast, prioritise your basic household needs including rent, and utility bills. If you think you are over spending on any of these things, try renting a smaller place, or buying a smaller car or cutting back on groceries. Always make a list when you go grocery shopping and don’t buy anything that’s not on your list. Create long-term goals, like sending your child to university or starting your own business one day. Don’t just pray to make your dreams come true, do something to fulfil them, for instance, eliminate money-suckers like restaurants and vacations once in a while to save that money for future plans. If you are married, and still don’t know how to take control of your finances, read this short story- 10 ways budgeting saved my marriage.

Apply the one-hour-a-day formula

You might have heard yourself complaining all the time about how you aren’t able to find enough time to pursue your hobbies or do the things that you really want to do. You don’t necessarily need a large chunk of free time at your disposal to follow your passion; the one-hour-a-day formula can help you achieve your life goals in 2020. Remember, it takes time to make time. Divide each day in three 8-hour blocks. Deduct 8 hours for work and 8 hours for sleep and you are left with 8 hours of productivity. Take out 2 hours of commute if you are driving to work. Now you are left with a six-hour block each day that’s entirely yours to do with as you wish. Write a book, play a piano, join a salsa class or start planning for the business you want to start one day. If you still think that an hour a day is not enough time to get anything done, you are wrong. An hour of exercise can keep your weight in control, an hour of upgrading your job skills will keep you updated about the new trends in your niche, an hour of meditation can keep you calm and composed throughout the day. In short, if properly employed, an hour a day is enough to make important changes to your life. Just analyse how you are spending time, rework your schedule, get over your inner resistance and voila!

Eliminate toxic multitasking

Single tasking can be life-changing for you! We often find ourselves in situations, especially at work environments, that place a high value on multitasking, but this not a good workout for the brain and for your overall health. As opposed to the prevailing perception, multi-tasking not only exhausts the brain but it defies its ability to reason and make sound decisions. The brain is not designed to do more than one thing at a time, so frequently switching between tasks overloads it; think about talking on the phone while driving. Though hands free technology has made it possible to drive and to talk on the phone simultaneously, studies show that the visual brain doesn’t activate fully when we do that, which means that while we may feel like we are watching the road, we are merely looking at it. If you have been multitasking for years, it can be a bit difficult to break that habit. But it’s not impossible. Make a to-do list and identify your priorities. Don’t procrastinate or get distracted by other “urgent things”. If you always feel scatter-brained and anxious because of the incessant digital interruptions and distractions, put that phone down for a while. Technology is a good servant, but a bad master.

Stop wishing you were someone else

Many girls were reportedly heartbroken following the announcement of Prince Harry’s engagement to Meghan Markle, wishing they were in her place. . We often believe the grass is greener on the other side, but that’s not always the case. So, stop imagining being someone else in 2020 and start looking at yourself to see the beauty and superior gifts you possess. You are unique like an individual snowflake, so enjoy every bit of what you are, how you look and what are you capable of. Don’t let the “not good enough” thought blackmail you. It is good to admire people for their accomplishments but living in an unrealistic world and spending time obsessing over things you don’t have is a complete waste of time. Someone’s going on a vacation, or has a new car, or bought a new house, fine. Congratulate them but don’t start comparing their lives to yours. You can’t love yourself if you focus on everything you aren’t rather than everything you are.

Change morning habits

What do you do in the first 10 minutes after you wake up in the morning? Grab your smartphone, scroll through your social feeds, check work emails or your WhatsApp messages? If that’s what you have been doing as a morning ritual, you need to change that in 2020. Reading a stressful work email or a bad news story first thing in the morning can potentially damage your day, before it has even begun. Do you set your alarm earlier than needed just so you can hit the snooze button? Get rid of this “One more minute” habit you start your day with. It’s just delaying the day. Instead, keep your cell phone or alarm clock out of reach or maybe in another room, so that you have to get out of bed to stop it. The next thing to include in your morning routine is stretching, as it brings several health benefits like improved blood circulation, stress relief etc. The third habit you need to change is skipping breakfast. Make something the night before if you don’t have enough time to make breakfast in the morning. Avoid having coffee first thing in the morning and try developing the habit of drinking water instead. Consuming water on an empty stomach banishes headaches, improves digestion, boosts the immune system, relieves fatigue and flushes out toxins.

Look for solutions instead of problems

Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions! That’s what we expect from everyone around us but when it comes to ourselves we fail to practice what we preach. Especially at work. Raising concerns can be extremely beneficial for an organisation, but it depends how you do that. Do you frame your critiques as ideas for positive improvement or do you just complain? If you do the latter, you need to change that habit in the coming year. Bringing up issues and always looking for problem areas can make you less productive at work. It can hurt your job performance. Don’t focus too much on why a problem emerged but instead think about possible solutions. You will go a long way if you promise yourself to do that in the coming year.

Volunteer!

Volunteering is known for its feel-good benefits. Although the world has seen a surge in youth volunteering in the last couple of years, people at the other end of the age spectrum have also been contributing just as much, maybe even more. Volunteering in old age brings with it a sense of purpose, a feeling of contributing to the community and increased self-esteem. But like any good habit, volunteering is best acquired in the early years of your life. And volunteering doesn’t necessarily mean handing over money to someone sitting by the road or writing a big cheque to a non-profit organisation. Giving money is just one way of doing charity. If you don’t have money, you can always give your valuable time. Help your aged neighbour when he is having trouble lifting his heavy grocery bags, help someone by donating blood, or by giving them your old but wearable clothes. The most beautiful example of an informal voluntary activity is often seen during Christmas, when many families distribute free food to the poor and needy.

Stick to your New Year’s resolutions

Despite the fact that every year we make New Year’s resolutions, most of us soon find ourselves falling back into our old ways. So, the last resolution for 2020 is to stick to the resolutions we made on 1 January. The best way to bring about change is not to wait until 1January to start something new, start it now. Why wait until New Year’s Day to start? If you want to lose weight, or join a gym, or quit smoking, do it now. If we keep deferring, no doubt we’ll do the same when the calendar flips over to 2020. At least start making arrangements to accomplish your resolutions. For instance, if you have a New Year’s resolution to join a gym, inquire now about things like membership fee, available timings etc. If possible register your name and pay in advance, so that you can’t back out, even if you want to. Or you can use the “swear jar” method by paying your friends £1 every time you ditch your New Year’s resolution.

And, most importantly, talk to others about your goals. Ask your family and friends to speak up if you slip and order a pizza instead of having an apple or forget another goal on your resolution list. Make print out copies of your resolutions and put it up on your refrigerator or stick it to the wall behind your computer at work so that it catches your eye.

Introducing a small change within your existing habits often gets incorporated into your routine, adds Ayers. “So now, rather than it standing out as something being wrong or different, it just becomes part of the sequence you go through each day,” he says.

5. It’s not a commitment

People who make resolutions instead of simply stating wishes for the new year talk to themselves and others differently, says Dr. Wayne Pernell, clinical psychologist, leadership coach, and author of Dynamic Transitions: How to Move Boldly and Gracefully Into the Next Great Phase of Your Life. “They’ve got goals with metrics, plans, and they have accountability built in,” he says.

For example, saying, “This year I really am going to do something about my weight” sounds more like a wish than a goal.

Instead, make it a resolution by saying, “2020 is the year to get my body back in shape. I’ve already checked out three gyms, and I’m waiting for the January promotions to decide on which one to join. I’ve done a pantry clean-out, which was alarming. I’ve bought new socks, and I have a special place picked out for my workout clothes and at-home weights.”

And let go of Plan B, adds success coach David Neagle, founder of Life Is Now, Inc. It’s hard to stick to a resolution that has an escape hatch. “We are raised with the idea that we need to have a Plan B in case what we want doesn’t work out, instead of learning how to grow into whatever we want to accomplish, so we learn to settle at the first sign of defeat,” he says.

Your goal is going to get inconvenient—any change is—so identify the patterns of stopping. “Once our goal starts to become uncomfortable, our mind tricks us into agreeing with why we should stop or give up the goal,” says Neagle. “If you can identify your patterns of stopping, you can put a plan in place for when the discomfort sets in and then confidently continue reaching for that goal.”

Got New Year’s Resolutions? Here Are 10 Common But Really Bad Ones

How can you make New Year’s resolutions that you can actually keep? (Photo: Getty Images)

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It’s been a week since New Year’s Day. Have you broken all of your New Year’s resolutions yet?

If you have, welcome to what’s called reality. New Year’s resolutions can be like many Hollywood marriages. They can stick for a bit. Then something happens, and suddenly they’re not there anymore. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology revealed fairly grim statistics when following 159 people who had made New Year’s resolutions. Just two weeks into the New Year, 29% had already fallen off the boat so to speak. At the one month mark, 36%. And six months into the year, 54% were no longer on course.

One problem is that people can really stink at making resolutions. Many resolutions are basically set-ups to fail. In fact, some of the most common resolutions are also some of the worst. Here are 10 of them:

10. Set goals.

So you are resolving to make resolutions later? That’s a bit like getting down on one knee and telling your significant other that you would really like to get engaged someday. This is basically not making a resolution and then using false advertising.

9. Be good, be kind, be better, be best, or be whatever vague assessment word that you use.

What the bleep does this mean? Be kind? Be kind of what? Be kind of vague?

Be better or be good aren’t much better or good either. Be better at what exactly? In 2020, I have already become better at walking down the street with the sole of my shoe coming off, because that never happened last year, or the year before. Vague resolutions are pretty meaningless and therefore easy to break, or fulfill, depending on your point of view. Instead, be specific about how you are going to be better or more kind. Maybe you can resolve to contact that person whom you bullied and make real amends. Or volunteer to help a good cause. Or stop calling your co-workers pediculous, which, by the way, means lice-infested.

8. Improve your health or eat better.

Speaking of vague, saying that you will improve your health without specifying how exactly is meaningless as well. Promising to eat better makes things a bit more specific, bringing the focus to your mouth, unless, of course, you are a plant. But can you still be more specific such as “ I will no longer drown my sorrows in Cheez Whiz” or “I will start reading food labels and avoid everything that has over 30% sodium?”

7. Have more sex, get a significant other, or get married.

These resolutions all fall into the category of “requires someone else to consent to fulfill.” Unless you are making a joint resolution with someone else who willingly agrees with you, you would be missing at least one half of puzzle here, or more than that, depending on what happens to be your thing. Don’t make resolutions that are beyond your control or make you believe that you have control when you really don’t or shouldn’t. Remember what Morpheus said in The Matrix about free will. Replace such resolutions with something that you can instead control, namely yourself. Try resolutions like “I will be open to dating a wider range of people” or “I will no longer insist that my significant other looks like one of the Avengers” or “I will try to shower regularly.”

6. Become an Olympic Gold Medalist, turn into Captain Marvel, exercise four hours a day, or anything that is just not attainable for you.

“You can do anything you set your mind to” is how the saying goes, right? Wrong. No, you can’t. There are limits to what you can do based on your innate talents, abilities, circumstances, and available time.

That doesn’t mean that you should just give up and flood your mouth with Cheese Whiz. Instead, set more realistic short-term goals, ones that fit you and your current situation. If the only running that you do now is to the bathroom, don’t resolve to “win a marathon” this year. “Complete one” may be a little more realistic. Or how about “run a mile without crawling and sobbing”? Or even, “run.” If you make a goal too unrealistic, chances are you will get frustrated and just quit. Start modestly and raise your goals only after you’ve achieved your initial ones.

5. Have a body like or be like (insert name of celebrity).

Gee, what would be great for your self-confidence and feeling of self-worth? How about trying to be someone completely different? How about aiming to be someone whom you don’t even know and who doesn’t know you? Oh, and try to do it without the same resources, helpers, make-up, air brushing, and CGI that he or she has. Yeah, this is going to end well.

Bottom line: don’t try to be someone else, unless, of course, it’s Baby Yoda. Then you’d be adorable.

4. Join a gym or get some type of exercise equipment.

OK, this is a resolution that’s fairly easy to keep. You just have to have a credit card and be willing to use it. The problem is joining a gym or buying the vibrate your tummy-sizer alone is not going to do anything except make your wallet lighter. Gyms can make a healthy profit from new memberships in January that go unused later in the year. Instead, choose an activity that you can more easily integrate into your daily activities, like resolving to bike to work, join a sports league, or doing jumping jacks on your boss’s desk. The last of these will help you if one of your other resolutions happens to be “quit my job.”

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3. Do some extreme or crash diet or any other type of drastic behavior.

You are not a microwave oven. You can’t just turn and off at a moment’s notice. For example, if you’ve been smoking for many years, simply quitting cold turkey is probably not going to work. You have to ease into behavior change, making small gradual changes. Plus, many types of radical behavior changes like crash diets, diets that focus too heavily on one thing, or too intense physical activity can be quite unhealthy.

Here is an ABC Action News story about a woman who caused damage to her body by trying a series of fad diets:

2. Lose X pounds.

This is an outcome and not a change in behavior. This is like saying that your goal when looking for a job is to get rich. You can’t guarantee yourself that you will lose a certain amount of weight. Not everyone is the same. Some people can do all the “right things” and still not lose weight. Focusing on the outcome and not the journey can lead to really unhealthy situations, like crash dieting to meet a goal or feeling depressed when you can’t achieve the goal. Instead, resolve to change something that you can better control, like cutting down on eating processed foods, and then see what happens.

Here is a TEDx talk from former Denver Broncos running back Reggie Rivers about how focusing on goals is not the way to achieve them:

1. What you resolved to do in 2019, and 2018, and 2017.

It’s been said that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If you haven’t been able to keep a resolution before, what makes you think that things will be different this year? Maybe it’s time to find other resolutions.

Don’t just try to recycle resolutions that didn’t work before. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Remember, the key to making a good resolution is to make it as specific as possible and readily attainable. Oh, and make it something that’s actually healthy and a positive change for you. After all, resolving to drink 1,000 packets of coffee creamer is very specific and very doable, but may not be the kind of resolution that you want to make.

Top 10 Most Common New Year’s Resolutions (and How to Follow Through on Them)

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Every year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions, hoping to spark positive change. The recurring themes each year include a more active approach to health and fitness, improved finances, and learning new things for personal and professional development. Chances are, more than a couple of the top 10 most common resolutions will look familiar to you:

  1. Exercise more
  2. Lose weight
  3. Get organized
  4. Learn a new skill or hobby
  5. Live life to the fullest
  6. Save more money / spend less money
  7. Quit smoking
  8. Spend more time with family and friends
  9. Travel more

However once the glow of a fresh new year wears off, many people struggle to make good on their plans. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 46% of people who made New Year’s resolutions were successful. That means over half of the people who set a goal for the new year will fail!

The study also involved non-resolvers, people who did not make a New Year’s resolution, but had a goal they wanted to achieve that year. Only 4% of non-resolvers were successful at achieving their goals, a far bleaker result than those who did make a New Year’s resolution.

Naturally, we don’t want to be in the camp of folks that fail to achieve their aspirations and dreams for 2020, so we’ve put together an exhaustive plan for following through on your resolution.

If you want to realize your New Year’s resolution this year, follow these 10 steps:

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1. Mentally prepare for change

Changing ingrained habits is no easy task, so before diving head-first into your New Year’s resolution, it is important to take a step back and get ready for that impending change.

The first breakthrough in change is taking a personal inventory. Being that it’s the end of one year and the beginning of the next; it’s perfect timing to take stock in the past year’s accomplishments. Think about the following:

  1. What did I set out to do in the past year?
  2. Where did I make progress?
  3. Where didn’t I see progress?

Naturally, your resolution may focus on areas that lack progress, but don’t forget to savor the progress made, and find some small way to celebrate. Those happy feelings are useful! If possible, try to associate them with an object or word related to your accomplishment.

You will want to keep upbeat with your new resolution, so you can use that positive association with last year’s accomplishments to remind you of those good feelings when you are feeling challenged.

As you start thinking about the changes you want to implement, make sure to do the following:

  • Stay positive
  • Try not to make big/quick changes
  • Change should be gradual
  • Build on smaller changes
  • Allow a little room for error

2. Set a goal that motivates you

You would be surprised how often people set goals that are not for themselves. These goals could be dictated or coerced by a manager, spouse, or parental / peer pressure.

While it’s nice to have some external support, if you don’t share the same passion, the resolution has a small chance of succeeding and could even be dead on arrival.

To do this, you need to make sure the goal you set is important to you and only you and that there is value or benefit for you in achieving the goal. It is these two things that will provide the reason and willingness to take action. This is also known as motivation!

Thus, it’s a safe bet if your resolutions align with the following:

  • Your goals
  • Your priorities
  • Your dreams
  • Your aspirations

Not only should you align around your inner-most desires, but you should also make sure the resolutions align around your top priorities. This will lead to a “must do” attitude.

3. Limit resolutions to a manageable amount

A common mistake in resolution setting is having too many and spreading yourself too thin. We all want to learn 25 different languages, 15 new job skills, and eliminate 5 bad habits, but we are not superheroes. We only have so much attention span we can dedicate to self-improvement, so having too many resolutions is a great way not to achieve the many goals you have set out for yourself.

Thus, you should make a short list of resolutions that you can manage in the upcoming year. Knowing that short list of priorities is the hard part. The key here is understanding how to prioritize.

Here is an exercise that you can undertake to help you figure out what is most important in your life. All you need is a post-it pad, a pen, and a wall.

  1. Write anything you want to accomplish for self-improvement purposes on a post-it
  2. Each post-it only gets one discreet tactic
  3. Place each post-it on the wall
  4. Go crazy – use as many post-its as possible
  5. Group together similar post-its
  6. Place the topics you feel strongly about at the top of the wall
  7. Put the topics you feel “meh” about on the bottom
  8. Spend a lot of time thinking about the order of the first 3-5 post-it (groups)

As you might suspect, #8 is the most time-consuming, because it will determine what resolutions you are going to take on this year.

The final piece of the puzzle here is knowing your limitations and personal bandwidth. With that in mind, you should focus on your top priorities while balancing how much attention you can honestly devote to a resolution.

Final thought: It’s better to tackle one resolution well than multiple resolutions poorly.

4. Be specific

When it comes to setting resolutions, it’s easy to set bad goals that could lead to poor follow through. Fortunately, SMART goal setting framework can help you craft better goals.

SMART goals are:

  • Specific – Articulate the resolution as clearly as possible. For example, quitting smoking is better than being healthy. While “being healthy” is great, the wording can be interpreted in many ways.
  • Measurable – Quantify your resolution if possible, i.e. I will lose 10% of my body weight.
  • Attainable – Choose a goal within the realm of possibility, but yet challenging. Making 100 friends this year would be amazing, but probably pretty hard to do. On the other, making 10 new friends is doable.
  • Relevant – Keep it relevant to your priorities and goals. See motivation section above!
  • Time-sensitive – Give yourself a time-frame in which to achieve a goal. A deadline will instill some urgency and provide a time when you can celebrate your success.

5. Break up big goals into smaller goals

A lot of us tend to be over eager and grandiose when it comes to resolutions. We have the best of intentions and may accidentally take on a goal that is too big to achieve. Thus, it’s helpful to divide a big goal into smaller goals that are more achievable.

Let’s say you are the leader of an alien race, and your resolution for 2020 is capturing the planet Earth. That is a huge goal!! You can’t just tell your intergalactic fleet of spaceships “take over planet Earth” and expect success.

You have to chunk up this big crazy feat into smaller more management accomplishments:

  1. Claim New York City
  2. Sack the Tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut
  3. Dominate Eastern Seaboard
  4. Capture the United States of America
  5. Occupy North America

Similarly, you can break up your year-long resolution into weekly or monthly goals. And have tasks planned for each month.

  1. January: North America
  2. March: South America
  3. May: European
  4. July: Asia
  5. September: Africa

By breaking your tactical plan into discrete steps, you now have a pretty good chance of world domination by the end of the year.

Now chunking up a big goal is easier said than done. Here are a few tips to help you make your massive goal more achievable:

  • Create a list of sub-tasks
  • Prioritize and order them
  • Use a visual map to display
  • Assign milestones to each task
  • Decide how much time each task requires
  • Allocate resources accordingly
  • Focus on the next step, not the big goal

6. Write down your goals

While it’s great to have goals, it is critical to document them in some way. Here are six reasons to write down your goals:

  1. They are easy to forget. While that may seem silly, we are human, and it is human to be easily distracted and forgetful.
  2. Writing down your resolutions helps you clarify what it is you want to achieve. It forces you to make decisions and be precise with your words.
  3. Writing establishes intention, but action needs to be taken to achieve your resolution. Having a written account of your goals is a constant reminder to take action.
  4. Written goals can act as a filter and guiding light for what opportunities to pursue. On any given day, there are a million decisions to make. When in doubt, refer to the goals you have set to dictate the way forward.
  5. Documented goals will help you overcome resistance to progress. We set goals to move forward, but there is a natural resistance to change. Your written goals spur you forward when you hit a speed bump or obstacle.
  6. Finally, written goals are a reminder of how far you have come and what you have achieved. It’s a nice feeling to look at back at the end of next year, and know your resolution has come to fruition. It’s a reason to crack open that bottle of champagne and celebrate.

Here are a few ways you can document your resolutions for 2020:

  • Write them in a journal
  • Draft an email to yourself
  • Store in Evernote or some other note-taking tool
  • Print and tape to the wall

7. Share your resolutions with others

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

It’s great to make a resolution for yourself and maybe even write it down, but if no one else knows about it, it’s easy to forget about or even ignore. And when you don’t achieve it, no one will notice or care.

On the flip side, your counterparts who decided to tell someone about their goal, feel something different. Now that they’ve gone public with their goal, they feel a sense of obligation and accountability. Essentially, if you don’t follow through, they are going to let everyone down.

Crazy as it sounds, this sense of guilt is often more powerful than self-motivation. The upshot here is that when you do succeed, the people you shared with will celebrate with you!

If you want to take goal sharing to the next level, you could organize a mastermind group. A mastermind group is a collection of highly motivated people who share a common goal and are looking to encourage and help each other improve.

How to do it:

  1. Find some kindred spirits with similar goals
  2. Meet regularly (weekly or monthly depending on level of commitment)
  3. Share setbacks and progress
  4. Stay motivated!

Now if you don’t have the time or inclination to do the above, another way to achieve the same result is to make a Facebook post declaring your intentions to all your friends. You can bet people will cheer you on and ask about your progress over the course of the year!

8. Automate where possible

A stitch in time saves nine.

The good news is you probably have technology in your pocket that can help you follow through on your resolution – automation in the form of reminder apps.

Nowadays there are a million different apps and services to help you follow through on your resolutions. These free tools can help provide a constant reminder:

  • Google Calendar: Set a recurring meeting tied to your resolution, i.e. scheduling workout sessions at the gym.
  • Google Now: Personal assistant that provides information as you need it.
  • Reminders (on iOS): Set up timed alerts for tasks.
  • Boomerang for Gmail: Schedule reminder emails to yourself (Freemium).

On top of these commonly used apps, there are also “to-do list” and task management apps that have the ability to schedule reminders and milestones. Here are a few popular choices:

  1. Asana
  2. Trello
  3. Todoist
  4. Microsoft To Do
  5. Omnifocus
  6. Things

Note: All of these apps listed above won’t help you do the work, but they do serve a constant reminder of the work that needs to be done.

9. Review your resolution regularly

Let’s face it, if you are not thinking about your resolution regularly, you are not going to follow through. Thus, a crucial part of realizing your goal is a regular review.

At a minimum, this review should be monthly, but the more frequent the better.

Here’s one way to build in goal review into your routine.

  1. Schedule a monthly “big picture” review during the first week of each month. This will serve as a planning meeting where you distribute smaller tasks and goals to different weeks throughout the month.
  2. Do a weekly check-in to check progress on the monthly goal.
  3. Set a daily reminder for smaller resolution tasks.

It may seem a little crazy to think about your resolution every single day, but it is those smaller incremental steps that lead to massive changes over the course of a single year.

10. If you fall off track, get back on quick

Rome was not built in a day.

We’ve established it will take time for your resolution to become a reality and we know change is difficult. In fact, we’ve already established we should leave some room for mistakes and setbacks.

Keep the following ideas in mind:

  • Skipping an intermediate task is not a complete failure
  • Missing a goal by 10% or even 80% is not a complete failure
  • Finishing a task late is not a complete failure
  • A moment of weakness is meaningless in the grand scheme of things

Setbacks can happen, but so long as they are handled correctly, they will not impact the big goal. The key is to avoid a defeatist attitude at all costs, i.e. “Well I screwed up once, why should I even try to do this anymore.”

And if there is a setback, it’s important to understand what lead to that moment, and how you can avoid a similar situation in the future, i.e. “If I play video games after work, I will not go to the gym. Don’t play video games after work!”

Once a mistake is made, own it and move on to the next thing. For example, if you skipped a study session, make it up tomorrow, and keep on moving. A few small mistakes shouldn’t spoil your resolution for the year!

We hope these 10 steps help you follow through with your resolutions and make 2020 your best year yet. If you are still looking for resolution ideas, check out our list of 138 New Year’s resolutions for 2020.

Want to learn more?

Take your soft skills to the next level with our comprehensive (and free) ebook!

29 New Year’s Resolution Ideas – Make 2020 Your Best Year Ever

The New Year stands before us like a fresh chapter in a book.

Once you’re done with your year-end reflection for the year that’s ending, it’s time to look forward to the year that’s about to start. What will you write for the next chapter of your life? It’s entirely up to you. Take the first step to make sure that it’s a good great chapter by setting New Year’s resolutions.

You’ll find 29 ideas for your New Year’s resolutions, below.

1. Start a Meditation Practice.

There are scientific studies that show the many benefits of meditating. To name just a few, meditating helps to improve your mood, it reduces stress, it lessens anxiety, and it even increases your brain’s grey matter — which is involved in muscle control, sensory perception, decision making, and self-control. In addition, once you get the hang of it, meditating is easy to do.

2. Learn Something New Each Day.

Set the resolution to learn something new every day in order to have a better understanding of the world and how it works. Fortunately, the internet makes it incredibly easy to learn new things. Here are three sites you can try:

  • Subscribe to Wikipedia’s Featured Article mailing list – you’ll receive an email each morning containing Wikipedia’s featured article for that day.
  • Watch a CrashCourse video on YouTube. CrashCourse is an educational YouTube channel started by the Green brothers, Hank Green and John Green. Each video is about 15 minutes long and they cover subjects such as literature, biology, history, economics, and so on. The cherry on top is that the videos are fun to watch.
  • Watch a TED Talk every morning while you eat breakfast. Here are the 20 Best Ted Talks to get you started.

3. Pick Up a Hobby.

Did you know that having a hobby is good for you? Hobbies can lower your stress levels, boost your brain power, improve your ability to focus, and more. Therefore, in 2020, start a new hobby. If you’re looking for ideas for hobbies to try, here are 16 Hobbies That Will Improve Your Quality of Life.

4. Play More.

Play is an important source of relaxation and stimulation for adults. In addition, it can make you more creative and productive. Bring more play into your life by making it a New Year’s resolution.

In case it’s been so long since you allowed yourself to play that you’ve forgotten how, here are 10 Ways to Play More and Have More Fun As an Adult.

5. Eat Fewer Calories.

There are many reasons why most of us should set a resolution of eating fewer calories. The most obvious reason is to lose weight. After all, carrying excess weight puts us at a greater risk of a whole range of serious health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

With all of the contradictory information out there on what to eat, sometimes it’s hard to decide what to do when you want to lose weight. I try to keep things simple. When I want to lose weight, I just eat less. I recommend you do the same. If you gained weight in 2019, resolve to eat smaller portions in 2020.

In addition, as I wrote in my post 17 Ways to Slow Down Aging and Live Longer, people eating a restricted diet live longer and endure fewer age-related diseases. Try eating until you’re satisfied, instead of full. Also, eat more slowly to allow your body to send you cues about fullness.

Other reasons for eating less are ethical–that is, social justice, animal rights issues, and environmental concerns–but we won’t go into those here.

6. Write a Business Plan.

Make 2020 the year you stop thinking about starting a business and you start taking action –it’s OK if it’s a small business on the side. The first step to take is to write a business plan. Once you get your ideas down on paper, you’ll be that much more motivated to turn those ideas into reality.

7. Move More.

It doesn’t matter what you choose to do: join a sports team; get a pedometer and take at least 10,000 steps a day; get up every 20 minutes and stretch; or join a dance class. Just move! Living a sedentary life dumbs you down, it makes it more likely that you’ll be overweight, and it puts you at a higher risk of depression.

Think of the following quote from the movie “Madagascar“: “Move it nice and sweet and sassy, alright!”

8. Read More Books.

I’ll definitely be reading lots of books in 2018, and I encourage you to do the same. If you need some convincing on this one, here are 13 Ways Reading Will Improve Your Life. This year, I’m reading the 12 most important books of Russian literature.

In fact, I created a 365-Day project for reading Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”–which is a book of prodigious length (roughly 1300 pages long).

9. Be More Grateful.

If you haven’t climbed aboard the gratitude bandwagon yet, this is the year to do it. There are studies that show that gratitude can make you 25% happier. Think about that for a second: you can be 25% happier simply by taking the time to count your blessings and think of all the good things in you life!

Being grateful will also help you to overcome adversity, improve the quality of your sleep, and allow you to get along better with others. For next year, resolve to be more grateful. Here are some gratitude exercises to get you started.

10. Stop Procrastinating.

If you didn’t achieve your goals this year, procrastination was the likely culprit. Make 2018 the year you stop procrastinating and start getting things done. This will help you to ensure that you won’t be sitting there at the end of next year wondering why you never got around to working on your goals.

11. Set Aside On-Hour-A-Day to Achieve Your Dreams.

Stop telling yourself that you simply don’t have the time to work on your dreams. Whatever your dreams are–whether it’s to make more money so you can redecorate your home, learn to play an instrument, have a positive impact on the world, and so on–you can accomplish those dreams in just one-hour-a-day.

If you devote one-hour-a-day to achieving your most important dream in 2020, by the end of the year you’ll have devoted 365 hours to that dream. Not bad!

12. Spend More Time In Nature.

Humans were not made to be cooped up inside all day. Spending time in nature makes you happier, it boosts your immune system, and it even makes you more creative. Resolve that next year you’ll be spending more time outside (and just opening the windows more often doesn’t count).

13. Start Doing Planks Every Day.

Doing plank exercises every day is a great way to strengthen your core. This article on Lifehack will show you how to do a plank, and it also includes an easy five-minute plank routine you can try. (Doing planks every day is on my list of resolutions for 2020, by the way.)

14. Enjoy the Little Things.

Living life to the fullest doesn’t just mean setting big goals like going bungee jumping or learning to scuba dive. It also includes learning to enjoy the little things. That is, learning to appreciate life’s simple pleasures, such as the following:

  • Going outside at night to look at the stars.
  • Going to a pet shop to “ooh” and “aah” at the puppies and kittens.
  • Walking barefoot in the grass.

If you want more ideas, here are 50 Simple Ways to Celebrate and Enjoy Life. Include as many of these as you can in your 2018 to-do list.

15. Learn a New Skill.

What have you always wanted to learn to do? Do you want to learn to play an instrument, code, knit, whittle? The possibilities are endless. Take advantage of all of the information that exists out there on how to learn new skills quickly and reach the end of 2020 with a couple of new skills under your belt.

16. Become More Confident.

Confidence can be defined as your belief in your own abilities and in your capacity to get what you want. In turn, the importance of confidence cannot be overstated. Confident people are happier, more relaxed, more likely to take chances, and more likely to succeed.

Fortunately, there are ways to become more confident. These include giving yourself credit for what you do, cultivating your inner advocate, and taking consistent action toward the achievement of your goals. Make 2020 the year your confidence soars (but don’t get too cocky, because nobody likes that).

17. Be More Conscientious.

In addition to being confident, you need to be conscientious. In fact, research shows that conscientiousness is the personality trait that is most often linked to success. You can start by being more punctual, becoming more organized, and being more thoughtful of others. Become more conscientious in the year that is to come.

18. Increase Your Charisma.

Charisma isn’t just important in the political arena, but in all aspects of life. After all, let’s face it: charismatic people are more likely to get what they want. This includes everything from dates, to job promotions. Because charisma is a skill, and not a character trait, it can be learned. Make 2020 the year your charisma skyrockets.

19. Increase Your IQ.

As I wrote in my post, How to Make Yourself Smarter In One-Hour-A-Day, new studies show that, contrary to popular belief, you can make yourself smarter. So, for 2020, why not set the resolution to raise your IQ? Enhancing your brain’s capacity to plan, reason, and solve problems is always a good thing.

20. Increase Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

Daniel Goleman coined the term emotional intelligence in his 1996 bestselling book ,”Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ”. In a nutshell, emotional intelligence is a set of skills, including control of one’s impulses, self-motivation, empathy and social competence in interpersonal relationships.

Set the resolution to increase your EQ, along with your IQ, and in 2020 you’ll be unstoppable.

21. Bring More Peace Into Your Life.

I think I can safely say that we all want more peace in our lives. And by this I mean more inner peace, contentment, and serenity. Resolve to bring more peace into your life in the year that’s about to begin by accepting what is, practicing non-judgement, and teaching your mind to become still.

22. Be Kinder to Yourself.

You may not be able to control how kind other people are to you, but you can always control how kind you are to yourself. This upcoming year, set the resolution to believe in yourself, respect yourself, and treat yourself well. As I wrote in my post, 17 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself, be a good companion to yourself.

In fact, take it even further. Make 2018 the year you fall in love with yourself.

23. Create a Positive Attitude.

Having a positive attitude opens your mind to new possibilities, it makes you more resilient, and it can even help you to live longer. Greet the New Year with a smile and resolve to stay positive, no matter what happens. Here are some tips and techniques that will help you.

24. Strengthen Your Personal Relationship.

Don’t make all of your resolutions career or fitness oriented. Include that special someone in your life in your resolutions. In addition, let them know what you’ll be doing: “Hey, honey, guess what? We’re strengthening our relationship this year!” Here are 18 ideas on what to do.

25. Tame Your Monkey Mind

Life isn’t easy when there’s a monkey in your head. Specially if that monkey won’t stop screeching and jumping uncontrollably from one branch to another (and eating all those bananas).

Make this the year you finally lasso that monkey and get it to sit still. How? Here are 10 Ways to Tame Your Monkey Mind and Stop Mental Chatter.

26. Keep a Journal

Journaling is a powerful life tool. It can help you to organize your thoughts, plan how to achieve your goals, and get in touch with your true feelings and wants. If you choose to add “Keep a Journal” to your New Year’s resolutions, here are two journaling techniques you can try.

27. Get Your Documents In Order.

There are certain documents that every adult should have. This includes things such as a will, a durable power of attorney, and a letter of instruction. If your documents aren’t in order, make it a New Year’s Resolution to get them ready in the coming year.

28. Travel.

Plan a vacation. The world is a beautiful place, and there are many things to see. Next year, visit a country you’ve always wanted to see. If you’re not sure how you would achieve a goal to travel in 2018, here’s what to do.

29. Volunteer.

Set the resolution to do good for others in the upcoming year. After all, you won’t just be benefiting those you help; you’ll also be benefiting yourself. Volunteering can give you a sense of purpose, make your life more meaningful, increase your self-esteem, and make you happier. In 2020, get a helper’s high by volunteering.

New Year’s Kit

Download my free New Year’s Kit below. It contains the following worksheets:

  • New Year’s Resolutions Worksheet for you to write down your resolutions for 2020.
  • 36 Prompts to Plan An Awesome Year – use these prompts to plan your best year ever.
  • 50 Questions to Review Your Year — use these questions to review how 2019 went.

Conclusion

A New Year is like a blank notebook. You get to write anything you want in it. Fill the first page of your notebook with your New Year’s resolutions. Use the 29 ideas above for inspiration. Live your best life by setting resolutions to make 2020 your best year ever.

Read Next: 10 Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions

  • 26 Ideas for the New Year – Ideas From A to Z
  • 30 Ways to Get Out Of The Waiting Place
  • 36 Prompts to Help You Plan An Awesome New Year
  • 10,000+ Bucket List Ideas For Designing Your Best Life

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