New Year's Resolutions: The Characteristics of the BEST Ones

Remembering the Funny New Year's Thoughts Along with the More Serious

First a Bit of History on New Year's Resolutions

Looking back over the past year and forward to the new at year's end began in about 153 BC.  Janus, a mythical king in Rome with a face on both sides of his head,  had magical abilities to look forward to the future and back to the past at once via his two faces.   Since that time, ubiquitous New Year's celebrations worldwide seek to do the same on New YeaNew Years Resolutionsr's Eve.  Although the date of New Year's  varies in different cultures, the marking of a New Year with celebration and well wishing, along with plans for the coming year permeates every culture.  King Janus is the namesake of the month of January. Think of him and his two faces as New Year's resolutions enter the plans for New Year's Eve. 

Top Great Eight New Year's Resolutions in the United States

The following New Year's popular resolutions come at no real surprise, and all qualify as great goals, each and every one.  

  1. Spend More Time with Family and Friends
  2. Loose Weight
  3. Get Fit
  4. Quit Smoking
  5. Quit Drinking
  6. Get Out of Debt
  7. Learn Something New
  8. Take Time to Enjoy Life More

The Best New Year's Resolutions

This one is simple, really.  The exact best resolutions vary for each person, but little doubt exists that the best ones share common criteria.  Make certain resolutions created are doable and better the life of the resolute owner of the plan.  The key to succeeding in keeping resolutions is to look at them through  small, attainable steps.  The ability to carry out any of the above goals is slim if the goal is not broken down into doable steps. Success needs to come in baby steps, not giant ones. In addition to being doable and attainable in smaller steps, goals must be measurable

For example, consider taking those same New Year's resolutions  and marking them off into doable,  small, measurable steps.  Assess progress on the goals monthly, weekly, or even daily.  Be kind to ones self.  Mishaps in getting to each goal will happen.  Be forgiving and get right back on the "goal wagon" after a misstep. 

  1. Spend More Time with Family and Friends:  No matter what life circumstances hold for the owner of this goal, few goals could be more worthy.  Define "some time." Perhaps as a busy executive this means blocking out one day a week for a family or loved-one outing like a movie or even a walk.  Put the cell phone and Blackberry in time out for the outing. All too often, even the days at home see business emails and phone calls taking the time away from family.  Vow to go out to dinner once a month with friends pushed to the back of the to do list in the prior year.  The key here is to make the amount of time set aside specific.  In assessing the goal at  regular intervals, make adjustments in that time frame.
  2. Loose Weight:  Logically this goal sits on the "do better next year" list of many.  A sad statistic tells the story in the United States of over 66% of the adult population overweight or obese.  Some have a five-pound bulge to lose where others own a more daunting task of many pounds.  No matter the number of pounds deemed as excess, again, designating an exact goal broken into steps is the key to success.  Make a realistic goal of weight loss per week or month.  Make it for sure doable.  That is all the better feeling should one exceed the goal.  Choose a healthy plan.  Plans are out there by the thousands.  Choose one that is affordable and works.  The reality is, any program that offers a healthy, reduced calorie diet partnered with exercise works.  Setting logical, doable goals is the key"
  3. Get Fit:  Most typically this goal hooks up with one of weight loss.  Just the words "get fit" denote vague plans.  Setting an exact goal again by day or week works best on this one.  Stories of people not only losing weight but improving health with statistics such as lowered blood pressure merely by walking for an hour five times a week grace the web.  Professional help is available, gym memberships easy to find, but remember that walking is free.  Make a plan that works, one that is "stickable" and doable for the owner of the plan. Checking out the HOWWW plan at The HOWWW Plan for Fitness provides food for thought.
  4. Quit Smoking:  A worthy goal this one is for sure.  Keep in mind the challenges faced  by this goal and again, set a goal that will work and not vanish within a few days of weeks due to the frustrations of seemingly being not doable.  Few people quit smoking cold turkey.  I have to say that my husband did so about twenty-eight years ago.  Find a reason to quit.  He did.  A smoker of at least a pack a day, little I had done as a lovingly nagging wife to get him to quit worked.  Then, he called one day to say that he would be late from work.  Hours later he came home and seemed frustrated.  He didn't really want to talk about it.  Irritability  best describes his mood for a few weeks.  After a few more late night arrivals, he told me that he had enrolled in a non-smoking program prevalent back in the day.  I was so proud of him!  Since that night he was first late, he has not picked up a cigarette.  I later learned that the impetus for the goal was seeing our two-year old son pretending to smoke as he sat in his little car seat.  That reflection  in the rear view mirror sparked a resolute for the non smoking goal although it was not New Years.  Proudly, my husband can boast that none of his three sons smoke as adults.  Take the initiative.  Do it for you.  Get help if needed as doing this one alone might be tough.
  5. Quit Drinking:  This one as well is worthy but presents often a challenge as well.  Of course the difficulty in doing so is determined by many factors including how much of a problem alcohol is to the user.  Again, take small steps that are attainable and measurable. Seek advice and professional  if the problem is a big one.  Cutting down on amounts and frequency in drinking is far most attainable than "quitting drinking." 
  6. Get Out of Debt:  How much in debt the owner of this one owns determines the difficulty of this resolution.  If the problem is a big one, consider starting out the new year with free help from the Consumer Credit Counseling Services.  Do be cautious of fee paid services to cut debt, and be certain of using a trusted advisor.  Perhaps the problem is a smaller one where a mere determination to not use credit cards for a time or to put savings dollars aside first every month as one pays bills does the trick.  Set a specific, doable goal. 
  7. Learn Something New:  This is my personal favorite. Consider devoting a set time per day or week to learning something new.  It is amazing how much stands to be accomplished in just devoting an hour a day to something new.  Learning a whole new profession in a year is possible.  A new language belongs to the person determined to devote the hour per day to language acquisition.  An hour sounds like a lot, but the results can be   miraculous wTime Management Strategieshen applied judiciously.  A fully developed concept of possibilities on spending an hour a day are found in the article, Investing an Hour a Day for a Year.
  8. Take Time to Enjoy Life More:  This truly broad resolution encompasses oh so many possibilities.  Again, be specific as the entire idea is too broad for measurement.  Consider listing five things that would make life more enjoyable should time for them avail itself.  Let us say that going to a movie weekly or  attending a live theater or sporting event monthly fit the bill.  Write down those items.  On the last day of every month, schedule one of those items for the next month to the calendar.  Buy the tickets.  Reserve the time.  They say that people who have a planned vacation destination and itinerary scheduled in the future are happier workers over all.  Why?  When the day gets tough, just thinking ahead to those plans calms the nerves and provides a light.  Scheduled events that hold enjoyment do the same.  Make the time.  Mark the calendar.

This New Year's Eve, think of Janus, and look backward.  In doing so, consider all that went well in the passing year, and give thanks for that.  When looking ahead to the new resolutions, remember baby steps, exact actions, and interval measuring to build resolutions that will make life better. Remember the  humor in it all with the words of Bill Vaughan.  "Youth is when you're allowed to stay up late on New Year's Eve. Middle age is when you're forced to."  Enjoy the new year!