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Three Alternatives to Traditional New Year’s Resolutions

At the end of each year, typically on New Year’s Eve, people sometimes make grandiose declarations of a single monumental change that they would like to make in the upcoming year. However, many do not stick to these resolutions. In fact, by the end of January, about 40% of people give up. By June, half completely forgot that they even made a resolution. By the year’s end, less than a quarter have achieved their goal.

In other words, you’re not alone if you’ve broken a new year’s resolution. Many aspirations fall short because they're unrealistic. Instead of making an overly ambitious resolution, let’s start the year a bit different this time.

Here are some alternatives to a traditional new year’s resolution that can set you up for success.

Tip #1: Change One Small Thing Each Month

Creating one big goal can foster negativity and stress when progress is slow, which can ultimately hinder your progress. So, rather than focusing on that one, singular goal, you can focus on bite-sized benchmarks.

Each month, choose one area of your life that you would like to focus on and choose one actionable item within that area. For example, you could choose to work on being better organized for one month, with the simple goal of making your bed each morning. At the end of the month, you will have created a feeling of accomplishment and a healthy habit. If you do this each month for twelve months, you can build a new practice over the course of the year.

Tip #2: Create a Bucket List

Instead of focusing on finding that one item to change this year, write down all the accomplishments or adventures you would like to achieve during the new year. Include an array of items from serious to fun. Place it in a spot where you can see it daily, like the door of your refrigerator. Don’t set deadlines.

As the year progresses, revisit the bucket list from time to time. Fit the items into your schedule whenever you can. Invite family and friends to share in the adventures on your bucket list with you.

At the end of the year, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many items you’ve checked off your bucket list, how much you’ve accomplished, and you can reflect positively on your adventures and experiences.

Tip #3. Choose a Guiding Word

Simply choose one action word that comes from your heart that you want people around you to see in you. Give. Gratitude. Compassion. Choose what you feel inside of you and use that word as your mental and emotional GPS throughout the year.

Reflect on your guiding word and use it to inspire your actions, your messages, and your choices. By the end of the year, you’ll likely look back on the wealth of positivity you’ve brought into the world – both for yourself and others.

Simple Equals Success

If you feel discouraged from making another resolution due to previous shortcomings, just remember that keeping things simple might be the best path to success. After all, smaller, more attainable milestones often lead to bigger accomplishments.

With one of the three alternatives above, or some variation on them, you’re more likely to look back on a year of growth you can be proud of. You may also find yourself on a path toward even greater strides in the future!