New Year’s Resolutions…Make a Plan and Succeed!

Many people make New Year’s Resolutions. About 80% of those are tossed to the wayside in the first six weeks of the year. That is not a great success rate! What can you personally do to give yourself a better chance at making the changes that you are hoping for and dreaming about in 2016?

1. Break it down into manageable, tangible pieces

2. Write it down

3. Make a plan It’s really that easy!

When I work with my life-coaching clients, I find these 6 buckets very useful in creating those manageable, tangible pieces:

1. Home

2. Friends/Social

3. Health/Fitness

4. Work

5. Family

6. Finances

You can put these in whatever order works for you. I often recommend starting with the one that you think will be the easiest because it gets that one out of the way AND you can see quickly that you are making progress. Win-win. If you start with the hairiest one and it takes you all year to get through it, you may not feel quite as satisfied, but it is up to you! Your life, your progress, your dreams!

Let’s begin: 1. Home: This is the physical aspect of your home (does not include people). Do you like where you live? Is it convenient? Can you afford it? Is it too big? Too small? Does it reflect your personality? Is it a mess? Does it stress you out? Does it feel like the perfect place to come home to relax at the end of the day? Go through each space of your home and write down changes you would like to make (organize closet, paint wall, get a new throw pillow…whatever it is). Once you have your list, write those things (either electronically or actually on to a calendar that will organize all your resolution progress) down in a realistic time frame. Before you know it, your home will be more welcoming to you…or you will realize that you need a bigger/smaller/different home altogether. Write the plan down and execute it!

2. Friends/Social: Some adults have this down pat. Others realize that their social lives have been put aside for too long. This is where you put the fun adult time…dates, friends, coffee, skiing, bowling…your choice. Start with at LEAST one fun plan on the calendar a month if you have none and then increase it at the year goes on until you have at least one fun thing to do per week. If you have been dying to take a pottery class or see that college friend, make the plan and get it on the calendar. You will be so much happier that you are putting yourself and your needs on your list!

3. Health/Fitness: This is often a popular New Year’s item. Start with health. Which doctors/dentists do you need to and want to see this year? Take 30 minutes and schedule appointments with them all. I try to blitz it out for myself and see them all in one week. Other people prefer to spread it out. It doesn’t really matter as long as it gets done. Take advantage of your motivation in the beginning of the year and get those appointments scheduled. Then you don’t even have to think about it until it is time to show up! Fitness is part two of this. What are your specific goals for 2016? Do you want to lose weight? Compete in a race? Join a running/swimming/spinning group? Eat better? These are all terrific goals. Pick 2 or 3 that are really important to you and write them down. Now, back into their success…what do you need? Do you want to lose weight? Start in the kitchen and throw away all the foods that are preventing your success. Yes, I did say “THROW AWAY.” Starving children in Africa will not benefit from your Doritos, I promise. Clean out and purge all the negative energy and roadblocks that are in your home pertaining to fitness. Do you need new sneakers? But them today. Don’t put it off. And get that calendar back out…what meetings need to go on the schedule to help you achieve success? Weight Watchers? Register for the race? Get fun people to join you? Whatever it is, do it right now. Write it down, and then just put it into practice. Having people join you increases the likelihood of success by about a million per cent.

4. Work: Are you happy at work? Do you want a new job? Do you want a promotion/raise? Again…get that pen out! Who do you know in your network that can help you/talk to you/may know someone? Close your eyes…are you living the life of your dreams? If yes, awesome. If no, what needs to change? Often there are some changes needed at work. Daydream for a day or two about how you picture your life and career. And in two days, come back and write down where you want your career to be by the time 2017 rolls around. Life is short…don’t shortchange yourself. If your career is perfect, that is great! You can just move on from here. If not, let’s start being courageous and making changes!! Make your life more family friendly or more lucrative or whatever direction you imagine! You are the creator of your best life!

5. Family: Sometimes family is the easiest and sometimes it is the trickiest. If your family dynamics are all falling into place, write that down on your gratitude list and move on to something else. If there are relationships that need some work or people you wish you were spending more time with…or anything to make your family more peaceful (from morning routines if you have children to holiday celebrations), write down the way you picture these events unfolding. That’s half the battle right there. Once you write down the dream, look carefully at what can be done to make that a reality. For my house, the mornings go pretty smoothly because we are super organized. Keys are all on the hooks. Shoes are all lined up. Jackets are by the front door. Cleats are in the cubbies. It took some chaotic mornings to create this smooth flow, but I have to say we have that part down pat now and there is no yelling or stressing here before school. Hurray! What can you do to bring more joy and less stress? Write it down and put it into action.

6. Finances: Same as everything else…if your financial situation is totally organized and on track, write it on your gratitude list and move on. If you have no idea…don’t worry. Start by making a budget that includes everything you spend and earn over the next month. Look at the events of the calendar year…do you always go on a summer trip? The kids need braces in September? Whatever those bigger expenses are, put them on the budget that you are going to make that will cover the next 18 months, month by month, line by line. It is tedious to make, but it will make your life so much better. Does the budget include savings for retirement or college? Vacation spending/saving? Putting money aside for a new house/new car/whatever your hopes include? Now…. (drum roll) …does it balance? If not, what more can you earn or what can you cut back on? Be fearless. Keep going until it works. 2017…and every year after that…will thank you for this exercise.

And that’s it!! Not so bad, right? And you don’t have to tackle everything at once…but if you at least look at each of these categories, you may feel less stress and more peace. You can also look at something and decide you are just not ready to change it right now. That’s ok too. It is your life. Realizing you have that choice makes it actually feel like a choice and not another “must do.” You can do everything and anything that you dream! You can live your very best life this year!! I know you can. I’m right here if you need help or a cheerleader or to know that someone has your back.


Colleen Walsh


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