New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep. We often make several lofty goals and eventually forget about them. Having said this, there are things we can do to make our goals last and we’ve found three stories of resolutions that worked to inspire you.
Making resolutions is good for our health. This is especially true if the resolution revolves around going to the gym more, but the whole process of setting goals is great for our mental health, too.
We get to look back on our year and find a few small areas that can be improved. It can be an eye-opening task. The trick to making resolutions that work seems to be choosing goals that are realistic and attainable. It all comes back to the fundamentals of goal setting.
Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
You’re more likely to stick to a goal that says, “Do a full-body workout every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.” than one that simply says “exercise more.”
Or consider, “remodel the house” versus “shop for and select an accessible bathtub before summer.”
Truthfully, resolutions don’t stick for most people because they don’t put enough effort into planning them. To help inspire this year’s resolutions, here are three stories of resolutions that worked and the take-aways we can learn from them.
#1: Paul Re-learned Piano
Many of us can remember taking piano lessons as a kid. Learning the notes, the finger placements, the rhythm; maybe you can even remember the smell of the grand piano’s old wood.
Intricate hand movements were ingrained into muscle memory, but many people now haven’t used them for decades. Paul Thompson took piano lessons, too and continued playing until his college years.
It wasn’t until he reached his fifties that he decided to dust off the old muscle memories and bring music-making back into his life.
Paul resolved to learn an hour of classical piano by memory before the year was out.
He put real effort into the plan and bought a second-hand grand piano as well as a keyboard that could be used with headphones. This way, he could play music at any hour and not worry about waking anyone (sometimes he played at 2:30 a.m.).
In Autumn of that year he reached his goal and could play Haydn and Mozart by memory again. Adding in other classics, he built up an hour of beautiful music that he could play without reading the sheet music.
Key takeaway: plan ahead to make reaching your goal attainable, like Paul did when he bought his keyboard.
#2: Morgan Wrote His Will
A 36-year-old father of two, Morgan Bojorquez had a morbid realization as he drove away from his kids. What would happen to them if he and his wife couldn’t return?
They were headed on a weekend get-away and leaving the kids with their parents. His wife quickly texted some tips to their parents should anything bad happen to them, and Morgan resolved to write his legal will in the New Year.
Conversations in the coming months were difficult but necessary. After many meetings, the document was finished by summer break. Morgan credits the motivation to protect his family as the driving force behind keeping his New Year’s resolution.
Key takeaway: resolutions that are made for other people give us an extra incentive to achieve them.
#3: Natalie Read a New Book Each Week
She was craving a piece of herself that had been missing for years. The part that loved to sink into stories told purposefully and beautifully — Natalie LaFrance Slack wanted to read books again.
Having raised three kids after her studies, she hadn’t made time for herself to read lately. Slack made an ambitious New Year’s resolution to read a new book every week. Although this may not be realistic or attainable for many, it worked for Slack.
Having this timeline certainly helped; previous years she resolved to read, “more often” which didn’t get the same results.
She found something even more rewarding within the resolution, too: she often mailed her finished books to others who might enjoy them.
Key takeaway: give yourself a timeline so you can measure success.
If you set New Year’s resolutions this year, take some time to plan ahead. Make all the necessary tools accessible so you have the best chance of reaching your goal. Revisit proper goal setting tips so you can make a resolution that sticks and enjoy the feeling of accomplishing goals!