New Year’s Resolutions

Kaitlyn Burton

A new year brings new beginnings, and while many are thinking about their New Year’s resolutions, they also think about how they are going to stick to them.  Acknowledging in one’s mind what one wants to accomplish in 2019 is easy, but following through is where one always falls short. By the end of the year, excuses are made and no goals are achieved. However, there are ways to keep eyes on the prize and stay accountable throughout the entire year to make 2019 a successful one.  

The main reason teens in particular are not excelling in this area is because they do not think to set goals. A man without ambition is like a bird flying with no direction. Taking the time to think and realizing what you want is the first step to successful goal setting. However, it is important to know the difference between a dream and a goal. A dream is an idea of the future, whereas a goal is an idea of the future with a plan and roadmap to achieving that goal.

Dreams can easily become goals as long as they are S.M.A.R.T. goals. This means they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timebound. Once you have set your goals, it is time to create a plan of action for the year to achieve these goals. Many people set goals too big, get overwhelmed, and throw in the towel. The best way to avoid this is to break up each goal into smaller ones and follow each plan step by step for that specific goal. In a journal make a daily, weekly and monthly plan to follow. You can also make a checklist for each day, week and month to make sure you are doing everything you can to achieve the little goals, which will then lead to achieving the main goal.

It is also a good idea to track your progress each week to keep yourself accountable. As you check off these tasks, it makes you feel confident and proud that you came just another step closer to achieving your goal. It also gives you motivation to keep going.  

Having good time management skills is one of the most important things to have when goal setting. Making a schedule of your day on paper allows you to see what times you have open to work on things and even some time to relax. With school and life being mentally and physically exhausting will not motivate us to keep doing what has to be done. Having a time just for you will prevent this overwhelmed feeling. Always carrying pocket work is another great time management tip. Being able to work on a task anytime and anywhere will leave time for goals and even yourself. This can be in the car, on the bus, or even at the end of class.

Also make sure you prioritize wisely and eliminate distractions. Think about your goals and on paper write down what is stopping you from achieving them and how you are going to deal with those barriers. This gives you a plan for every situation, how to achieve the goal, and how to deal with things when they don’t seem to be going your way.  

Now that you have a goal, a plan, and a destination, it’s time to think about motivational strategies. Telling people such as your friends, parents, or siblings makes the goal real and out in the open. It also sets an expectation that you will make sure you meet, so that you don’t fail yourself and others. Also try placing the goal somewhere you will view it daily. This will remind you of what you want and to keep striving for greatness. Another motivational tip is to reward yourself weekly or even monthly. This gives you another great reason to stick to your plan. Depending on your interests and schedule, this could be watching another episode of television or waking up a little later than usual.  As long as it’s something you enjoy and look forward to, it will motivate you to stick to your plan.

However, there’s always the possibility of failure and it’s hard looking back at your journal knowing what you wanted didn’t come to you. You had a signed contract to yourself that you were committed to for a very long time. If and when this may occur, take the time to think what went wrong. Alter your plan to fit your lifestyle. Maybe you didn’t break up the goal small enough. Maybe you didn’t check off everything you were supposed to do everyday that would eventually reach that small goal, then that medium goal, then that big goal. Understand what went wrong and make changes to it. Bouncing back will make you stronger than before, and you may even reach that goal.

Some say if you do not fail every so often, you underestimate yourself and limit your potential. Take this challenge and see if you are as strong a person as you hope you are and if not, work on it.

Albert Einstein once said that “anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” Step out of your comfort zone and make your life interesting. You are stronger than you think;  imagine how you are going to feel after all that work put in, and you have made you and your life better. Accomplishing these goals now will give you the confidence to accomplish anything in your adulthood. Take this time in your teen years to prepare, know what goal setting method works for you and remember, as Alfred Lord Tennyson says, “it is better to have tried and failed than to live life wondering what would have happened if you had tried.’’ 



Practicing college learning strategies by Carolyn H. Hopper

Albert Einstein