As New Year’s Eve approaches, everyone is starting to think about what resolutions they want to make for themselves in the coming year. But for many, the idea of setting a New Year’s resolution and actually sticking to it for the entire year can be daunting.
Choosing a resolution to work towards is great in and of itself, but to make sure you follow through on your promise to yourself, you’re going to want to make sure you set S.M.A.R.T. goals. The acronym, coined back in 1981 by George T. Doran, stands for goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.
This year, your first resolution should be about setting reasonable goals for yourself to complete over the next 365 days. Second, come up with your small, specific goals to improve your life. Need some help? Choose some achievable resolutions from our list below.
- Learn a new skill: Go to the library and find a book on a skill you’ve always been curious about. Plan a project a month or so out to demonstrate that skill. If you have a budget, check sites like Groupon for discounts on classes.
- Read more: Give yourself a reading goal like a book or two per month and record your progress on sites like Goodreads for accountability.
- Procrastinate less: Use lists to keep track of tasks you need to accomplish and set due dates like you would with a project at work. If the task is large, break it down into smaller tasks to chip away at it.
- Travel more: Make a list of destinations you dream of going to and do a surface-level dive into how much each would cost. Take a look at your budget and see how much you have to save to make it happen. The first step will be saving up the funds; the second part will be booking the trip.
- Grow your savings: Have a goal in mind for your savings and come up with methods to achieve it. Experts suggest saving the equivalent to three month’s salary as your first savings goal. Try using apps like Qapital to help get you there.
- Volunteer more: First, take a look at your calendar and see how much of your free time you’d be able to commit to a non-profit on a consistent basis. That time window is now your goal! Search for causes close to you or find specific needs in your area on VolunteerMatch.
- Eat healthier: The way we eat is a habitual process, so changing these habits takes time. Choose progressive goals like reducing the amount you dine out to once per week or once per month. Going forward, don’t buy anything at the grocery store with ingredients you can’t pronounce to help you eat cleaner.
- Step up your exercise routine: This one is pretty common for most people, but try not to assign a weight goal to your fitness. Instead, commit to adding extra time at the gym (e.g. work out for 30 minutes four times a week, not three times per week) or enroll in a new fitness program that really motivates you like a Zumba or HIIT. This way your commitments are tailored to how you prefer to work out and the weight loss is a side benefit.
- Improve your sleep patterns: Try to go to bed 5 minutes earlier each week until you go to bed 30 minutes before your normal time. You don’t have to go to sleep right away — choose a sleep-friendly activity instead. Go through a guided meditation on the Calm app or read a book. Your body will start to fall into its sleep cycle more smoothly and you’ll rest easier.
- Get out of debt: Gather your data and make a list of your debts and income. Start with the smallest debt first and work your way towards the big debt. Personal loans help with tackling debt too.
- Excel in your career: This goal can look widely different to every person because of the span of occupations. Is it a promotion? Is it taking on more responsibility? Is it a raise? Define what the next level in your career looks like to you and plan what will get you there. If you’re unsure, take the time to sit down with your boss and find out.
Keeping these helpful steps in mind will not only help you achieve your New Year’s resolutions but maintain them throughout the rest of the year. All while making yourself a better you!