how to take on 2019 like a pro by emily klassen

march 15, 2019

Think back to January. The perfect time to make New Year’s resolutions...and forget them in a week. Why is this phenomenon so common that we can all relate to the dozens of jokes and memes made about it? Why do our simple goals always feel so unobtainable? Because they are.


Think of some common resolutions: work out more, eat healthier, do better in school, etc. They all sound so short and simple until you realize how complicated each of those goals are. At this point, you get unmotivated, find a pint of Ben & Jerry's, and forget that you ever made a goal to begin with. We’ve all been there, but how do you break this annual habit?

To start, what do all of the most frequent resolutions have in common? 

When we try to plan for the whole next year, our minds jump to big-picture, vague phrases like “get in shape”. That sounds great in your head, but what does that even mean? The small phrases make the task sound easier, but really we’re just tricking ourselves. When making an obtainable goal (it can be any goal, not just a new year's resolution), there are some key steps to follow:


1.) Start small. Buildings are built one brick at a time. Even though it's fun to imagine, you can't expect yourself to go from weekly one mile runs in December to a cross-country marathon in January. A lot of the goal-achieving process ties in with my previous article on stress. If you let yourself get overwhelmed by the goal, it's never going to be accomplished. By starting small, you can keep your goals easy and manageable.

2.) Make a plan. Ugh, plans. I know they aren't fun, but if this goal is something you truly want then this is going to make the process infinitely easier. For example, if your personal resolution is to get better grades, your first step is to make that smaller. Let's say you narrowed it down to getting above an 85 in all of your classes by the end of the quarter, which gives you a much clearer direction. That's not going to happen until you decide how you're going to get there; your specific method doesn't matter as long as you have one. By making a plan, you're giving yourself an organized, direct path to your goal.


3.) Find motivation. This is important before, during, and after your completion of the goal. If you have no purpose in doing something, why would you do it? And no, "out of the kindness of your heart" isn't an answer. Even if it is simply the goal itself, find something to keep you going, to keep pushing forward. Also, don't forget to reward yourself after you've worked hard. This doesn't mean you should eat an entire cake after completing your final exams, it just means you should have something to look forward to. Of course, it doesn't have to be a food, it could be that Spiderman hoodie you've been eyeing for a while, or maybe a trip to the movies.  Big or small, it can help to have this extra prize that you're striving for.

After following these golden rules* of goal-setting (*Results may vary. Side effects include laziness, procrastination, and a disregard for everything I just told you. Contact me or your doctor if bad goals persist), hopefully you'll feel ready to fist-bump the new year and start those resolutions like a pro. You're gonna do great. I know it.

Until next time,

- Emily Klassen