For many years now, I’ve used a quick list style for creating New Year’s resolutions. My kids (13 & 11) and my husband have also now adopted this technique with good success. There are more detailed methods for creating New Year’s resolutions, and I highly recommend them if you are so motivated. (See end of post for more information.) The problem is that many people are not motivated. They often feel like they need not bother making a list of goals since they probably won’t complete their resolutions anyway. Either that, or they are so overwhelmed with everyday life that the idea of creating another “to do” list is just not a task they can handle. The resolution quick list is a great solution to at least take a small step toward making goals that can add up to a big difference in the New Year.
Steps to Creating a Resolution Quick List
- Get a piece of paper. Just regular notebook paper or even a piece from a scratch pad will do.
- Title the list, so it looks important. The title can be something as simple as “2012 Goals.”
- With a goal of 10 total, start listing what you’d like to accomplish in the next year. For ideas, see my 2011 New Year’s Resolutions listed at the end of this post.
- Keep the list visible and where you’ll see it often until you have 10 items on it.
- Once you’ve hit 10 goals, put the paper away somewhere that you’ll come across it periodically in the next year. For example, I sometimes put my list in my Bible. My kids keep theirs on the computer, and my husband keeps his on his iPhone.
That’s it. Chances are, creating the list won’t take but a couple of days, if that. Then, just review the list once in a while. I’ve been using this method for probably 10 years now, and I’m always amazed at how much of my list I accomplish.
Why does this work? I think that the simple act of writing a goal down creates some sort of subconscious commitment that drives people to reach it even if they aren’t thinking about it. I’m sure there’s some scientific research behind it. What I know for sure is that I with this method, I accomplish at least half of the goals I wrote down.
Essential Parts of Creating Goals
There are some aspects of goal creating that will go a long way in helping you achieve your goals. The ones that I have found to be crucial are as follows.
- Have to be written down. If it’s not written down, you’re not even close to committing to achieving it.
- Honesty is required. Goals need to be ones you honestly care about; otherwise, you won’t work toward achieving them. I choose goals that fit my interests as well as ones that will help me become a better person.
- Need to be realistic. Goals have to be achievable, or you’re dooming yourself before you even begin. For example, I knew that running a marathon was very unlikely for me, so I cut it into two parts instead.
- Being specific is very helpful. The more specific you are, the better. For example, instead of saying “run regularly,” say, “run three times a week.”
While this method for setting goals is not necessarily foolproof, it certainly is better than nothing and can at least be one deliberate step in the direction of being more intentional about your life. For a more comprehensive and more effective method for setting goals, see “How to Finish What you Start: 5 Steps for Getting Things Done in 2012” and “17 Ways to Be Happier in 2012” at Abundance Blog @ Marelissa Online.
My 2011 New Year’s Resolutions
As promised, here is my 2011 quick list. Hope it gives you some ideas! (Note: Completed goals are crossed off.)
Write 40 devotions
- Pray regularly with my husband (do often, but not daily)
- Run two half marathons (ran one, then got an injury)
- Eliminate endometriosis health problems (progress but not gone)
Read 50 books
- Have daily, personal worship time (still working on this habit)
- Sleep well every night (better but not victorious yet)
Complete office redecorating Complete photo organizing Contribute monthly to the food pantry