How to make a New Year’s Resolution that sets goals, and helps improve your life.
Some find the end of the year as an occasion for evaluating one’s personal strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations. Such self-reflection and ambition to become a better person is what prompts one to set goals to achieve over the next year. We call these goals New Year’s Resolutions.
But New Year’s Resolutions have become increasingly unpopular in our day, especially because of the limiting circumstances due to COVID-19. For this reason, some have found it unnecessary and undesirable to create a New Year’s Resolution.
We should not have such a mind-set. Just because events seem to be in a pause-like state does not mean that we individuals should stop becoming the best version of ourselves. New Year’s resolutions are therefore helpful in trying to become who we want to be.
When setting a New Year's Resolution, one sets a goal for him or herself. Goals by their very nature aim at some sort of desirable end. Goals are therefore what people intend to achieve.
Now, that which is first in intention is last in execution. For example, suppose Sally intends to read twelve three-hundred paged books a year. How can Sally do this? Well, perhaps she can read one book a month, since by the end of the last month, she will have read all twelve books. But how will she read one book a month? Well, she will have to find or make time to read one book a month. How will she find or make time? She will do this by examining her daily schedule and seeing when is the best time to read. If she consistently cannot find time, she can make time by, say, swapping wasted time for reading. Sally finds that she wastes time on social media. Thus, whatever time Sally would spend going on social media each day could be used for reading her book.
Usually, Sally is on social media for about two hours a day, and it takes Sally one hour to read ten pages. Thus, if Sally cuts her original social media usage in half, she would have time to read ten pages each day, and therefore one book a month, and therefore twelve books at the end of the year, just like she intended. Here, we see that Sally’s intention/goal is what helps her find the means for achieving that goal. The ‘how’ questions guide one’s reasoning to see how one should begin doing what one intends. Thus, all that is left for Sally is to read ten pages a day.
One common mistake I’ve noticed when setting my own resolutions is that my resolutions tend to be too broad. Such goals are too difficult to be achieved since broad goals aren’t exactly tangible (either literally or metaphorically). One quick fix to this mistake is to create S.M.A.R.T goals. S.M.A.R.T is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Notice how Sally’s goal is specific because she wants to read twelve three-hundred paged books as opposed to merely read books. Her goal is measurable because if she reads at least one of those books a month, she is on track. The goal is attainable because Sally only needs to read one hour a day. The goal is realistic because she is reading 300-paged books a month (or ten pages a day) as opposed to 1000-paged books a month (which is about 34 pages a day). Sally’s goal is timely or time-related because the readings will be done every day.
Setting goals helps one reconstruct his or her daily lifestyle, inspiring one to flourish. What better time to set a goal than the new year, since the new year, in some sense, is a new beginning!
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Ryan Ford '23,