More resolute in 4 easy steps

A very happy New Year to you! How is your 2012 going so far? We’re now into the second week of the New Year. How are you doing with any resolutions you may have made? It’s been estimated that 45% of adult Americans make New Year’s resolutions every year, but only 8% are ever kept. These stats lead me to the question, “How do they calculate those numbers with accuracy?”.

Image courtesy of wikipedia

I’m one of those adults who aims to evolve with the passage of the new calendar year, but I have a different method of success. I though I’d share my 4 rules for resolutions with you today, in case it could add some resolve to your goals for 2012.

(Right about now, some of you may be asking, “What does this have to do with interior design?”. Stay with me…you may end up with some interesting art for your home!)

1. List Month By Month

First, let me say that the idea of trying to predict in January what I want to have accomplished on a personal growth level in 12 months seems ridiculous. It’s kinda like when you go in for your annual check-up with your doctor and at the end of your appointment they ask if you want to schedule your appointment for the following year. As if you know exactly where you’ll be in 12 months, on a Tuesday, at 2pm.

2013? I'm still trying to remember to write "2012".

I do better with resolutions if I can plan them a month in advance. It is a well-discussed theory that it takes an average person 6 weeks to change a regular behavior. If I can commit to doing something for four weeks, I’m well on my way to completing that goal and have met a much more attainable deadline.

So, I break my annual resolutions into monthly resolutions. If I slack off of my resolutions for a few days (or a few weeks), I know that the month is still running and that I have a chance to get right back up on that horse and try again. We’re only human, after all.

2. Take Smaller Bites

On a similar note, I like to break goals down to make them more approachable. For example, I’ve set a goal for myself to read 60 books in the next year. (My great aunt, who lived to be 99, said reading kept her mind young. Who can argue with motivation like that?) I’ve broken my 60-books-for-the-year goal into a 5-books-per-month goal. Much more approachable and if I get a little ahead, I’ll really feel empowered for the next month.

Image courtesy of sapdc.org

Bite-sized resolutions means I can also tweak as I go. “Tweak” does not mean “abandon in March”. Tweak means re-order or add to the list. For example, I am lousy about remembering dentist cleanings/check-ups. I’ve actually written “Dentist” on my February resolution list to make sure I get an appointment on my schedule.

I’ve also written “Update Resolutions” in April, so I can tweak/add more Dentist-y things (among other things) to the rest of my year’s goals after I’m into the year a few months. Maybe I’ll be raising my book goal to 6 books a month. We’ll see how I’m doing.

3. Make It Public

I’m doing that right here with this post and you’re going to see my whole list in just a few more paragraphs. I’ve found that if I can speak openly about my goals, it helps me to follow through with them.

Now, I’m not suggesting you open with you resolutions at a cocktail party, but I have found that if I can explain the value of my goals to others, that conversation (and the memory of it) can be a motivator for me later. Especially if those conversations can get you some high fives from your friends and loved ones as you meet each step of your goals. Announce your progress and be proud!

Image courtesy of capetown.travel

4. Make It Art

This is where you write down your goals. Not just write them down, but put them in a place where you can look at them. Every day. (Yes, every day.) So, if you are going to look at them why not make them something you love to look at?

Type your resolutions up nicely and make them pretty art to put out in your home. Surround them with motivating pictures if you are a picture person. Mount them on beautiful paper to make a lovely print. Frame them and put them near your favorite place in your home. Embrace your goals with happy anticipation. Attitude is everything and enjoying your list is a step in the right direction.

Keeping it real, friends. This is right next to my desk.

That’s my list, typed up on a little photo-shopped print I made, then framed. It sits right over the printer and scanner by my desk, where I work every day and write these posts. Just wanted to show you that I practice what I preach. And here is a close-up of the framed list, so you can read the resolutions more easily:

Some months have more goals than others, but it all seems approachable.

Does this 4-step system work? One of my big resolutions for last year was starting a blog…and I did it! Now you know my goals for 2012. I’ll keep you posted as the year rolls along. What are some of your resolutions? Do these steps help you see your goals more easily? Leave a comment and share your thoughts. Blogs are for conversation!

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Posted on January 9, 2012, in Decor, Lifestyle. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Happy New Year!

    I love your idea of making it a piece of art. I can never manage to remember to do what I’ve resolved, then after a while, I’ve forgotten entirely what the resolution was.

    This year I resolve to write more hand-written letters. I feel it’s a dying art and people really appreciate the gesture.

    There. It’s public.

    Thanks for the motivation!

    • That is a great motivation, Heather. I may need to add that when I tweak my list in April. I have lots of pretty stationery laying around and no real need to send it. I should use it!

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