We made it!

No zombie apocalypse or end of the world just yet. One more year down and another one on the horizon! Time to CELEBRATE!!!

Before all that excitement begins, remember this is also one of the most valuable times to sit down, slow down, and reflect on the year that has just passed.

365 days!

Did you take chances? Try new things? Accomplish any goals, small or big? Act on dreams? Did you feel every single emotion on the spectrum from happy to sad and excited to scared? Were you grateful? Did you show gratitude by giving back?

Of course, only Superwoman could do all of these things in one day but over the course of one year, you’d be surprised by all the things you have actually done once you take the time to acknowledge it all. And if there’s something you weren’t able to achieve or weren’t particularly proud of in 2012, well what better way to remedy the situation than by making a great New Year’s Resolution?!

Right, like anyone actually keeps those.

New Year’s Resolutions are made and strayed from by the million each year. Studies have been done showing an approximate 1 in 10 resolution success rate in the US. Ouch. It’s not that we don’t truly want to lost weight, travel to Europe, volunteer more, and spend less money. The real problem is that we don’t go about resolutions effectively.

Resolutions, done the RIGHT way!

First off, write your goal down and track your progress! Whether in your journal, on your bathroom mirror, across a big whiteboard hanging on the fridge or even on your Facebook wall, make it be known to yourself and anyone else who’s looking what you intend to accomplish. Secondly, feel free to relish in all your ‘likes’ and imaginary pats on the backs for declaring your goal but keep in mind that the actual work is yet to come.

Get specific.

Simply saying you want to lose weight or travel the world is not going to cut it. While both of these things sound fantastic in theory, you need to define what they mean to you and devise an action plan. For example:

“I want to lose 20 pounds by June 1st. I will do this by jogging four times a week for thirty minutes, taking three boot camp classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and going to Zumba every Saturday. I will follow a whole foods based diet, eliminate processed foods and sugar, and save dining out for special occasion. I will keep track of my progress by writing down my exercise and diet each day and by weighing/measuring myself each week.”

Notice how “I want to lose weight” just became specific, organized, and basically set into action. (And that barely even touches specific!) We are much likely to work towards a goal that has been broken down and laid out in front of us rather than some abstract notion perceived as distant and unattainable. If your dream is to travel, ask for the vacation time, book a flight, and start allotting a percent of your paycheck into a special purpose savings account that you will use as spending money. You’re that much closer now!

Keep in touch with reality.

Now that your master plan is set and ready to be tackled, check in with yourself and make sure your resolution is actually attainable. Sure, ‘anything is possible’ but it would be pretty unrealistic, not to mention unhealthy, to try and lose 20 pounds in two weeks. If you are currently unemployed with a decent amount of debt, it would not be the best idea to book an around the world flight either. If you find yourself with problems such as these, remember to start small. Build your way up.

Don’t fear the crash!

This may be the most important tip. It’s almost destined to happen too, though that may be hard to hear right now. Something about the new year gets all of us excited, hopeful and inspired to do whatever our little hearts desire, but sooner or later the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives kicks back in. Then comes the danger zone where excuses sneak their way in and we lose total sight of the end goal. Just remember that setbacks and discouragement are normal. If you have been chasing after a realistic goal with your foul-proof action plan while monitoring your progress, you should be just fine. If you’re really hurting at this point, reward yourself with something small but only with the promise of getting right back into it. Think about how great it will feel to write your resolution down on your 2013 list of accomplishments!

Okay now, resolutions and zombie apocalypses aside..

Have a SAFE and Happy New Year’s everyone!!!

Video: “Maybe the best hasn’t happened yet.” -Tristan Prettyman, San Diego Born and Raised Singer/Songwriter