New Year’s Resolutions: Achievable Goals or Wishful Thinking?

“So, what’s your New Years Resolution?”

It’s a question we’ve all been asked countless times around the holiday season, and it’s an age-old tradition, but where did it start? And is it worth doing?

According to this source, the ancient Babylonians were the first people to make New Year’s resolutions, as well as holding celebrations in honour of the new year, around 4,000 years ago. However, rather than being a one-night celebration, the Babylonians had an extensive 12-day celebration, and they celebrated their new year mid-march rather than January. During their celebrations, the Babylonians expressed their loyalty to the reigning King and made promises to their gods about what they would achieve in the coming year.

Even though we don’t need to worry about being smited by the gods if we don’t keep our promises like the Babylonians did, making a New Year’s resolution is something that many people still actively practice. Although the tradition has evolved immensely, it’s a constant topic of conversation during the holiday season. Whether it be about personal health and fitness, finances, breaking a bad habit, improving a skill, or advancing in their career, individuals all around the world are taking note of what they’d like to accomplish in 2018. But are all these promises worth making? And how often do people keep them?

According to a study done in the United States, 41% of people usually make New Year’s Resolutions, with 17% infrequently making resolutions. While this may sound promising, only 9.2% of individuals feel that they were successful in meeting their resolution, with a staggering 42.4% of people consistently failing to meet their new year’s resolution.

So are New Year’s Resolutions just wishful thoughts? The study also reported that “People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions”. Here at PinPoint Talent, we’re all for self-improvement and accomplishing goals, but keep this study in mind when you’re coming up with your resolutions for 2018. Whether you post them on a bulletin board, write them down on a white board, or announce them to all your friends and family on New Year’s Eve, make sure they are explicit. Here are a few pointers that we have in terms of meeting your resolution:

1. Write it down and make it smart

Writing down your resolution is a great way to make sure it’ll stick. Think of your resolution like you would a work goal – make sure it’s SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely).

2. Make a roadmap with specific milestones

Huge goals aren’t something you can just accomplish in the blink of an eye – it’s a process with many steps involved. To ensure that you’re committed to reaching your goal, make sure you set up a roadmap for success. What are the steps involved? What kind of commitment will it take for you to get where you are now to where you want to be?

3. Set alerts to remind you when these touch points are coming

Setting up milestones is only useful if you really stay on track. To help you be more timely, consider setting up reminders in whatever calendar you use. Whether you schedule them into outlook or google calendar, or write them down onto a physical wall calendar, setting specific touchpoints will keep you from falling behind in your success.

4. Reflect and Adjust

Don’t get too discouraged if you don’t reach one of your milestones on time. Take it as motivation to gear up and meet your next one. If something is keeping you from achieving your progress, take it into account and see how you can adjust your plan for greater success.

5. Record your progress

You won’t be able to realistically track your progress if you’re not keeping count of your day-to-day wins. Did you beat your best time for your workout? Save a larger amount of your paycheque than usual? Achieved a higher grade on a term paper? Received a better performance review at work? Document your success! Figure out the percentage by which you’ve improved, and the steps that led you there. Feeling confident about your wins will bolster your motivation to achieve even more!

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