7 Steps to Writing Your 2013 Resolutions

We have survived the end of the world and have gladly graduated to 2013; a new year, a new chapter and an intended better one.

We begin every year with the same statement: “I feel like this year will be a good year!” Right?

Most of us feel excited about the new chapter, anticipating something different from the last, something positive, something to look forward to. We are hopeful that this year will be the year in which we will accomplish what it is we want to accomplish. Alas, this year will be the year. 

We attempt to list our year’s resolutions. We ponder a couple of minutes in front of a blank piece of paper, tablet, PC or iPhone and then we sway to our Facebook account and forget all about it. Right again?

And so where to start?

I must say I don’t set the best example, because here we are almost mid-way through January and I am still trying very hard to complete my resolution list while buying time not to implement it. In any case, here is how I will go about setting my 2013 resolutions. If you haven’t set yours yet, maybe these few pointers might help you out.

1. Today’s resolutions: What do I want to change today?
I figure the first place to scramble for resolution ideas is by looking at the present. Do you want to change jobs, do you want to buy a condo, do you want to write a business plan, do you want to attain a better work/life balance, do you want to lose weight or avoid gaining the traditional excess winter mass? Do you want to combat Montreal winter hibernation by embracing it with skiing or skating or snowshoeing? The question you should start by asking yourself is, what do I want to change today?

2. Yesterday’s failed resolution: What did you fail to do last year?
Second place to scramble for ideas is last year’s miserably failed resolutions. It’s never too late to apply them and there is surely nothing wrong with recycling objectives. 

3. Yesterday’s successful resolutions: What do you want to continue to do?
There is no point in forgetting about what you have achieved last. I personally aimed to dance 3-4 times a week regardless of work. This was a resolution I set for myself over five years ago and that I am still following religiously because, well, it makes me happy. The plus side is that if you managed to fulfill your resolution for one year, it can only be easier the next, reserving you an easy box to check! 

Now that you have listed your resolutions, you are ready for the next step.

4. Be rational
Committing to an objective is quite difficult (as I personally have proven to myself year and year again). Sometimes the reason behind this flopped attempt is our lack of rationalizing. Being ambitious about a resolution is great, because it allows you to aim high. Alternatively, I think it is important to set a goal that is feasible, attainable, measurable, and that can be conquered within your timeframe. For example, “I will spend my winters in a hot climate despite my soaring debt.” Not rational! Dear Montrealers, our winters last half of the year, there is no way of escaping them fully. Instead, attempt for a one or two week vacation in the most miserable month of February. Or, better yet, introduce Vitamin D to your diet!

5. Be real!
Let’s face it: we only have so much power over our lives. Setting goals out of our control is a recipe for disappointment. “I will get married this year, I will have a child this year” are objectives that you can try to aim for, open your heart to, but that you cannot plan. So be real! Let’s not forget, Montrealers, marriage is becoming, ahem, obsolete here in Quebec, so just set your expectations properly.

6. Prioritize and Plan
We can’t do everything at once so prioritize your objectives for the year. Maybe leave some for next year. Set milestones. What do I mean by that? Let me give you a personal example. Some of my goals will be year-long, such as dancing. Some others I prefer to set on quarterly basis. For example, I will take photography classes in the spring. I wouldn’t dare take photography classes in Montreal winter and lose my fingers due to frost bite. Plan for whatever it is; register for a class or sign up to the gym when it’s cold outside and when you know you won’t be as distracted with all the jamming Montreal summer festivals. 

7. Commit
Lastly, if you have commitment issues then commit yourself from the start. I’ll give you another one of my personal examples. One of my resolutions is to write more; so here I am committed to writing bi-weekly columns for Notable!