5 Easy Steps to Achieving Your New Year's Resolution

Tips for doing good in 2014 [LIST]

Jan 10, 2014
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Photo by Flickr user Chovee

Happy New Year! When the fun of the holiday season has died down and we're back to the daily grind, sticking to our best laid plans can be somewhat tricky. Whether it's doing something good for yourself, the people around you or the planet in 2014, these five easy steps will help you define your goals and make the necessary adjustments to institute positive change. Keep a pen and paper handy to take notes as you read on – often the first thing that pops into your head is the most important to catch.

1. MAKE IT QUANTIFIABLE

Clear goals are easier to keep – and the more specific the better. So get some numbers into the equation when you're making your New Year's resolution or putting it into action.
ASK YOURSELF: How much? And then rephrase your goal accordingly. In other words – it's more effective to vow "I plan on losing 10kgs" than "I plan to get healthy."
TIP: Be realistic. Setting yourself a goal that you don't really believe you can keep is the easiest way to end up quitting early.

Photo by Flickr user Dave Dugdale

2. SET A DEADLINE

Just like meeting goals at the office, setting an exact date to check in on your progress will up your chances of success.
ASK YOURSELF: When? You can either set one deadline for the entire goal, or break it down if you're better with short term targets. For example – "I plan to donate $50 to charity every month," or "This year I plan to donate $600."
TIP: Be exact. "By June" is good, "by June 1" is even better.

Photo by Flickr user photosteve101

3. CREATE A SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT

Often the most significant barriers to change exist not within us but right nearby – in our immediate environment. Making sure you have the people and things around you that will support your goals is crucial to achieving them.
ASK YOURSELF: What do I need to achieve this goal? If you're trying to get fit, for example, running shoes might be the missing link – or friends with similar aspirations.
TIP: Be ruthless. Getting rid of certain objects or consciously choosing to only be around the right people for you might be necessary for the initial habit-forming period.

Photo by Flickr user dorianroeck

4. DIG DEEP

The next step is turning within, to understand which of your values will support this change you'd like to make – and whether you have any limiting beliefs that might be standing in your way.
ASK YOURSELF: What do I value? And what beliefs might be blocking me? For example – your value of looking after the environment can motivate you to ride your bike to work three days a week. On the other hand, if you want to quit smoking and yet deep down you believe that smoking is "cool," you'll probably need to reframe that idea.
TIP: Be open. Write down a list of beliefs and values – without thinking too much about the resolution at hand. Some examples might be: egalitarianism, sustainability, honesty, and family. When you're done, go back over the list and seek out what might be relevant.

Photo by Flickr user Davide Restivo

5. GET SKILLED

Once you've got your environment and beliefs in line with your goal, it's time for some learning. Often achieving our goals means attaining certain skills – whether that learning accomplishes the goal itself or merely helps you on the way.  
ASK YOURSELF: What do I need to learn to make this change? Am I missing a vital skill here? For example, if you want to start composting, you might need to devote some time to research.
TIP: Be creative. Is there someone who can help you acquire the skill you need? Or can you find a free course online? Acquiring new skills needn't be a hassle – it should be part of the fun!  

Photo by Flickr user Nomadic Lass

As well as managing Goodnet.org, Elana writes happy headlines with a particular focus on yoga, meditation and family matters. She has a background in online journalism and web content.
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