How to Set a New Year’s Resolution That Will Change Your Life

It’s that time of year when we take stock of our lives, specifically what we’ve done with the last year. And what we didn’t do. Where we stand now compared to 365 days ago and where we hope to be by the time the earth revolves us all the way around the sun again.

It’s time to set our New Year’s Resolution.

Over the next few days, the same article titled something like “How to make a New Year’s Resolution This Year That You Can Actually Keep!” is going to be written 3,000 different ways— 3,000 different writers interviewing 3,000 different psychologists but all saying the same thing:
Make a resolution this year that’s realistic, attainable. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Set a goal that’s “reachable.”

I’m not sure where these psychologists are hanging out, but wherever it is, they must be running into herds of people setting resolutions like, “I’d like to grow 3 feet taller over the next year” and “This is the year I get a job as a Ghostbuster.”

Either that… OR…

They’re asking us to take our standards down a few notches to make us feel better for at least reaching some sort of goal. You know, so we can give ourselves a trophy at the end of the season just for being on the team.

That’s ridiculous.

It’s ridiculous because we all want to do BIG things. GREAT things. Take a BIG trip. Accomplish a BIG goal. Learn something BIG: Astronomy, Painting, How to play the Guitar, Medicine, Rocket Science. Move to a new city. Be a GREAT parent. Have a GREAT marriage. Launch our own business. Start a non-profit. Change careers. Change our bodies. Change the world. Write a Book. Build a school in an impoverished community. Etc.

Yes, there are some people who never act BIG but we all Dream BIG.

And here’s the thing: All of those BIG things are reachable. Are they easy? No. But are they attainable? Absolutely. It just depends on where or who you want to be by this time next year.

Case in point, I’m working on a story right now about a Goddess who was brought up in an inner city neighborhood in Baltimore where going to college was considered totally unreachable. Today, she is double majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology and Forensic Chemistry as a Pre-Med student. She’s going to be a DOCTOR. I repeat, DOCTOR. That’s pretty much the opposite of not going to college. Oh, and by the way, when she’s not in class, she’s working to pay her bills and is raising 3 children under the age of 6, volunteers at her church and Oh, and by the way, she gets up at 6am everyday to workout. The obvious question at this point is “HOW” right? Did her parents push her to do something big? Was it a teacher or a movie or a book that inspired her? So I asked her where she gets the energy and motivation to do everything she does every day. Do you know what she said?

She said she didn’t understand my question, then asked in confusion, “Who WOULDN’T want to be their best?”

And that’s what it comes down to, doesn’t it? So let’s figure this out. What would it take to be YOUR best? Seriously, right now, close your eyes and picture yourself being your best. Do you have the same job or a different one? Do you see yourself organizing a fundraiser? Are you learning a new skill or traveling to a new place? Do you feel healthier? Do you look different? Do you have a better relationship with someone in your life? Whatever it is, write it all down in a list. Maybe it’s 3 things. Maybe it’s 15.

Now, take that list and rate each thing you just saw yourself being or doing in order of importance. As in 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. (1 being the thing that will have the BIGGEST impact on being your BEST self).

Now, take the top 2 and make those your BIG THINGS, your Resolutions for 2015.

Now, get yourself a calendar, a physical calendar that you can write on and hang on the wall and see every day or print one out from the World Wide Web. Then, next to each week, write down one task you can do (and will do) that will help you achieve your BIG and Absolutely Reachable Resolutions. If you don’t know where to begin, Google your goal. Find out the steps other people took to achieve that goal and fill in your calendar. Maybe your Week One Goal is just to finish filling out your calendar for the year. Yes, those weekly goals may change depending on your progress and you, of course, can always change them as you go along. The point is to make a plan for the entire year, to stay on track. A visual reminder of how reachable your BIG THINGS/Resolutions really are.

(By the way, if one of your BIG THINGS/Resolutions is going to take longer than a year to achieve — like graduating from medical school — then print out enough calendars to cover the amount of time you need).

Next Step: Post that calendar where you will see it everyday (over the sink in the kitchen, the bathroom mirror, wherever you will absolutely see it everyday). Don’t hide it. If you think you need to hide it from other people seeing it because they might give you a hard time about it, then you have the wrong people coming in and out of your home. Which brings us to our Next Step.

Next Step: Be honest with yourself and write down the first things you think of that could stop you or distract you from reaching your BIG THINGS/Resolutions. It might be a bad habit like binge-watching a TV series or it might be a person in your life who tends to doubt you or laughs at the BIG THINGS you want to achieve. Now, tape that list next to your calendar and make a conscious effort to protect your precious time and energy from getting lost on bad habits and toxic people.

It’s 2015. Let’s go get it.

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