Last New Year’s Eve, I attended a dinner party at a dear friend’s Portland home. Between the fabulous courses, wine and laughter between friends, there was one conversation that night which stood out for me.
Two friends and I were talking about New Year’s resolutions. One of them asked for my opinion as a professional organizer about how I help my clients to keep their resolutions.
I pondered this for a moment, not sure how to answer. The truth was that none of my clients had ever told me their resolution before. It seemed largely a private thing. And if it wasn’t private, the resolution was quite general, like “I want to lose weight” or “I want to be more organized” – not an easy thing to measure and support as an organizer.
When I didn’t have a ready answer, the conversation moved towards HOW we can make our resolutions stick. Everyone chimed in with a response. Some people claimed that resolutions simply don’t work. Others said that they work, but only if you pick something small and feasible.
Make Your Resolution A Reality
The best response however, was from my friend Marie. She claimed that the only way to make your New Year’s resolution stick is to say it out loud to another person.
I love this idea, for several reasons. One is that stating the goal out loud creates intention. Without intention, we cannot hope to create change. When you voice something out loud, it helps to make it more real – even if you just say it out loud to yourself!
Speaking your resolution out loud to another person also creates accountability. The person hearing your goal is liable to ask you about it later, and you will be motivated to see it through for that reason.
Make Your Resolution Specific
But it’s not just saying the goal out loud that will help make it happen. The way that you phrase it also plays a role. Check out the difference between these two resolutions, and consider which one is more likely to happen:
A). “This year I want to make my house more organized”.
B). “This year I want to organize one area in my home per month”.
By stating specific, measurable parameters for the resolution, you are outlining a plan. In the above example, plan B can be acted upon right away.
That person could then draw up a list of 12 areas they want to organize. They might put the list up in a visible place and cross areas off as they are completed. This is how successful resolutions are seen through – by mapping out each step it will take to get there.
Keep The Resolution Straightforward
If you must have a list of resolutions, choose fewer rather than more. Choose resolutions that you are passionate about and have energy for. It should feel like the time is right, that you want this. If you are fighting against your new resolution from day one, you will find excuses not to follow through.
Whether your resolution is to lose weight, get organized or ask for that promotion at work, creating some intention and accountability will take it beyond a dream and make it into a goal.