We are two weeks into 2017, and writing the date has become a little more comfortable. 2016 was not everyone’s favorite year (just look up #2016in4words on Twitter), but as Lebron James liked to point out in an Instagram post, it wasn’t all bad for everyone. And 2017 doesn’t have to be either! Let this be a year of optimism, letting light overpower darkness, and community stamp out disunity. This can be a great year for everyone, starting with yourself and your new year’s resolutions.
While 75% of resolutions will last through the first week of January, only 46% will make it through 6 months, the University of Scranton reports. What’s unique is that 39% of people in their twenties will achieve that year’s resolution, while only 14% of people over 50 will achieve theirs. Thus, our generation of “millennials” — people born between the early 1980s and early 2000s — are more capable of achieving their goals, if they put their mind to it. Although this Saturday Night Live sketch with Drake argues that making new year’s resolutions is much easier than keeping them, don’t be discouraged. Here’s my advice on being the 39% who keep their resolutions for the entire year:
- Improve upon what you’re already good at. If you were naturally born with the ability to be a good friend, use your social disposition to befriend your co-workers or church community. Branch out, and continue to meet new people and be a friend to them as well. If you are very disciplined with exercise and fitness, use your gift for routine to also become disciplined with reading, your faith, phoning your family, or other things you wish you did more frequently. Think about what you excel at or did really well in 2016, and try to use those strengths in other parts of your life in this coming year.
- Don’t be someone you’re not or do something you don’t enjoy. If you hate running with a passion, don’t make your top new year’s resolution to “run more.” There are plenty alternative forms of exercise that you don’t have to torture yourself with. I personally wouldn’t make my resolution to “travel to more countries” if I had a deathly fear of flying. I think that new year’s resolutions are a chance to be the best person you can be or reach your full potential — not to become someone you’re not.
- Make realistic resolutions, not ones you know you’ll fail at. I am someone who doesn’t hate running, so one of my resolutions is to run more in the new year. But “running more” or doing anything “more” is so vague. Add a quantity or frequency to your resolution — say how many times or to what extent you want to accomplish something. I’m not going to aim to run every single day because the Lord knows I don’t have the time or discipline! I would surely fail at that resolution. Thus, I am aiming to run 100 miles in 2017; it is a set number I can reach, and a realistic one as well (100 miles a year is about 2 miles a week, which is very attainable for me). I know you want to reach for the stars, but don’t make astronomical goals that end in disappointment. You will feel immense satisfaction when you make quantifiable, plausible resolutions and see that you are completing them.
- Think of something you have in 2017, and aim to make it amazing. For anyone who has a graduation, wedding, class reunion, or an event that is already on your calendar, try to look forward to it. Whether you want to get in shape for this event, or you’re on the planning side and hope that it goes well, it’s good to make it a part of your year-long resolution than start thinking about it a week before it occurs. For me, two of my resolutions are to have a fun 23rd birthday and an awesome high school reunion. These are two important events in 2017 for me and I’m going to aim to put more effort and thought into them than normal, which will make both days so much more special when they finally arrive.
- It’s not a bad thing if you didn’t make any new year’s resolutions. Walking with one of my friends after Starbucks the other day, she told me she didn’t have any new year’s resolutions, as if she needed to make some. But I told her that isn’t a bad thing! If you feel fulfilled, get the most out of each day, and don’t feel a dire need to improve on something personally, then don’t sweat trying to find something you do need to work on. Just keep doing what you’re doing and do it well.
- Ask your friends and family what their new year’s resolutions are. You may think you have a good list of things you want to accomplish in 2017, but there may be possible goals that didn’t even cross your mind. Ask your friends, family, and co-workers what they hope to achieve this year and perhaps they will inspire you! Or you may find similar resolutions, and you can offer to try to accomplish them together. Having someone hold you accountable or embark on a journey with you will increase your rate of success and make the experience more memorable.
Hopefully these little tidbits help your list of resolutions, and enable you to make 2017 the best year yet!
© Rissponsible Living, 2017