The four key categories of resolutions and why they each matter
Exercising more, eating more fruits & veggies, getting more sleep are all good examples of self- care behaviors. These are probably the most common type of goals that we hear about. Why does it matter? You won’t have as much energy for giving to others, getting things accomplished or having fun if you don’t first take care of your health. For example, flight crews always tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others. Therefore, you need to take care of your health or you won’t be able to effectively accomplish your goals for the other categories.
Less common than the above self-care goals, but also seen on most lists are other-oriented resolutions. These could include things like increasing your volunteer work. This category can also include spending more quality time helping friends and family members who may need more attention. Obviously, it is good for others if we do more for them, but how does this category contribute to our own happiness and well-being? It turns out our self-esteem and sense of purpose in life are both increased when we help others. It is worth noting that one of the most common regrets people voice at the end of their lives is that they did not spend more quality time with their loved ones. While time with loved ones can be a mix of giving and fun, research suggests that it is critical not only for your happiness but also for your health.
Easier said that done, right? This may mean studying more hours a week if you are a student, making the case for a promotion if you are employed, reducing debt, saving more money, or achieving some sort of concrete athletic, professional or academic goal. While type A personalities are most likely to make accomplishment oriented resolutions, they probably need this category the least. Still, having a goal makes it a lot more likely you will accomplish it, so clarifying your objectives in this category is worth doing. The important thing is that you have something that is meaningful to you that you would like to accomplish.
Perhaps the most neglected category in New Year’s resolutions are the goals that focus on having more fun. These could include traveling more (or less if you do too much of this for work), going dancing more often, taking a fun class you want to take, or spending more time doing things you enjoy with people you enjoy being with.
For all of the above categories, make sure to translate your goals into concrete measurable objectives, so you know when you have met them and when you have not. Make sure your objectives are realistic and able to be completed. For example, I have committed to walk the dogs every day. I will also make my lunch every work day (instead of buying lunch) and write at least one blog post every other week.
That's it for now! Happy New Year!