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Are New Year's Resolutions a Good Idea?

Dec 24, 2016 8:36:00 AM

new year resolutions.jpgAre you one of the many people that flood into the local fitness center during the first weeks of the new year, determined to make a change? How about tossing out all of the sugar in the kitchen or vowing to give up social media - except on the weekends? Many of us make resolutions at the start of the new year with the best of intentions, only to fall back into the same habits in short order. So, it's a pretty common debate about whether New Year's resolutions are a good idea at all or even healthy.

Why News Year's Resolutions Are a Good Idea

New Year's resolutions are an excellent idea for several reasons. Anyone who is willing to sit down and take stock of their life and see where a few things might need improvement should be commended. Setting goals can work but only if done properly.

Thousands of studies have been conducted on goal setting and the psychology of goals. Several overriding themes have surfaced from these studies. Among these are that goals should have meaning, be realistic, and be measurable. Setting a goal to lose 30 lbs. over the coming year is a noble quest, but without an action plan, you likely won't get very far. This is why too many goals, or resolutions, fall by the wayside.

Why New Year's Resolutions Might Cause You Trouble

If you're one of those people that doesn't do well with planning or follow-through, New Year's resolutions may not be the best idea. When we consistently fail to achieve set goals, this can be a major hit to our self-esteem. Being optimistic and setting lofty goals is one thing, but unrealistic goals such as breaking life-long habits overnight often aren't achievable. Instead, a more cautious approach to resolutions might bring better results.

Some Helpful Tips for Your Next Set of Resolutions

If you've tried and stumbled with New Year's resolutions in the past or are just worried about not keeping your word, here are several tips to help make them more meaningful:

  • Be selective. Less is best, so only choose one or two goals for the new year, making your top resolution something that you're willing to work hard to achieve.

  • Be specific. Resolutions should be measurable. Otherwise, everything just becomes a gray area and it's easier to cheat. Instead of saying "I'll exercise more," be specific and state "I'll go to the gym four days a week."

  • Make a plan. If you can, create small goals to achieve your main resolution and lay out the steps for each milestone. In the previous example, it could be joining a gym, registering with a personal trainer, and finding a workout buddy.

  • Write it down. Write down your goals, place them where you can see them often, and keep close track of your progress.

While New Year's resolutions can push you to make some positive changes, they shouldn't cause undue stress. If that is where they take you, a change in focus might be a better move. Try one positive change for the new year, perhaps a plan to take stock of your finances and plan for your family's financial future. 

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Knowledge is power. The more you know, the easier it is to make an intelligent choice. Everyday life, as well as certain events and circumstances, require you to make choices. And peace of mind is gained when you feel good about the decisions you make.

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Topics: Financial Future, Health & Lifestyle