Once a year, you get to make a fresh start. All the bad times and poor choices are washed away. After the Christmas decorations are put up and the last thank you note is written, it’s time for some serious soul-searching. How do you make 2016 your best year ever? I’ve made dozens of New Year’s resolutions, and failed miserably at most of them. Due to my track record, I have acquired some helpful tips. Here are a few ways to make your best possible start:
- Write it down. You’re much more likely to make it happen if you commit it to paper.
- Be specific. “Save money” isn’t good enough. Try “Skip one restaurant meal per week and put the monthly savings in an IRA.”
- Forgive yourself. If you forget to exercise on Tuesday, make sure you’re there on Wednesday.
- Start slow and work the new habit into your regular daily routine.
- Find an accountability partner to regularly check your progress.
- Paste encouraging quotes or photos on your bathroom mirror, workstation, wherever you look.
- Make it public. Tell your spouse, friends and family what you’re trying to accomplish.
- Replace the old with something new. If you want to stop smoking, start a new hobby or exercise plan.
- Make it painful to fail. Each time you forget your resolution, put $10 in a “swear jar.”
- Celebrate small wins. When you reach a milestone, recognize the achievement with a small reward.
Whatever you decide to do (or stop doing), remember this: You don’t have to be perfect; you just have to try your best. Every day. “We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.”—Ellen Goodman This post was written by Carol Martin, Accounting Assistant.