Some people swear by their New Year’s resolutions, saying that they provide a benchmark and a reasonable time frame. Others scoff at the idea of a New Year’s resolution without realizing that setting goals, at any time of year, is crucial to succeeding in practically any endeavor, whether it be academic, professional, fitness related, or something more personal.

Setting realistic goals for the upcoming year is one way to measure your successes and your accomplishments. Looking back over the previous year with last year’s resolutions in mind, it is easier to see what you accomplished, what still needs work, and which expectations were unrealistic or unwarranted. Creating realistic New Year’s resolutions is just one way to keep yourself moving forward in every aspect of your life.

Work Goals

Most job interviewers ask applicants where they see themselves in 5 years. New Year’s Eve provides an annual opportunity to ask yourself where you would like to be in only one year. Of course, that one year goal can easily be part of a 5- or 10-year plan, but one year is a manageable enough time frame that progress is usually visible and measurable, creating the motive force needed to continue into the next year. Professional work goals can be a raise, a promotion, a bigger client base, more sales, a better working relationship with your peers, or simply remembering to submit a status report each Friday, instead of waiting until Sunday afternoon!

Family Goals

Family situations change over the years. Small children enter the world of school and friends, teens expand their horizons into sports competitions, wider social circles, and part-time jobs. College-bound young adults and those heading out into the work of a military or other carer rarely have time for immediate family. As your family moves through each of these stages, the goals and resolutions for each year will, quite naturally, change substantially as children grow up and move away. Making time to see and visit with family regularly is an admirable goal that benefits everyone. Creating a memorable family vacation can be your annual resolution, or resolving to surprise family members with date nights are just two ideas to help you find balance with work, personal, and family.

Financial Goals

The only way to meet financial goals is to set them, budget for them, and stick with the plan. Families facing debt can resolve to become debt-free by living within their means. Families able to save can resolve to set aside a certain amount each month. Financial goals can be for a family vacation, a major purchase, or to buy property for that special get-away.

Charitable Goals

Often, charity gets left to the last minute when need exists throughout the year. Monthly donations of money and materials, or even life-giving plasma, and needed year-round. Resolve to volunteer at your local school one afternoon a month, clean out your closets of clothes, books, and other items you will never use again, or read to the elderly at the VA hospital. Need is around us on every side. Resolving to share of yourself enriches everyone.


Life Goals

Life goals are as personal and unique as every individual. Health is nearly always a consideration when it comes time to make New Year’s resolutions. Resolving to lose 40 pounds by June, however, has never worked for anyone. Families can certainly resolve to live better by making sure there are always cut vegetables and fresh fruits on the table for snacking, instead of potato chips and cookies, and a refrigerator full of water, ice tea, and juice, instead of sodas and beer. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a nice glass of Cabernet at the end of a day, but moderation in daily habits are how we invest in the future. A daily walk with a loved one, master a new skill, taking an art class, or whatever your goals are, you can resolve to make a difference in your life this year.

Traditionally, the year’s end was celebrated by throwing out the old and welcoming in the new. You can become more focused and better balanced by using the cultural tradition of New Year’s resolutions to rid yourself of habits and possessions that hold you back and weigh you down. Setting these goals each winter gives you the time you need to plan, act, and review your efforts for a better tomorrow.