Learning From Unmet Resolutions

The new year is well and truly upon us now. The resolutions have been made, the plans to achieve them have been drawn up, and we’re all ready to meet our goals in the coming twelve months. Everything is set, right?

Well, maybe. Chances are, you made some resolutions for last year, too, and probably didn’t get everything you wanted accomplished. After all, it’s sometimes tough to lose fifty pounds, pay down your credit card debt, and dominate the world, all at once. (Although, that last one might just be me.)

As you've probably heard more than once, you can't win the race if you don't run


While it’s tempting to push all those missed resolutions to the back of your mind and never think about them again, there’s much that you can potentially learn by looking back and reviewing your failed resolutions, seeing where you ran into trouble last year could help you see how to do better this year. I tried to do so myself in my latest resolution review, and it did help me to determine how to approach my goals this year.

Here are a few Dos and Don’ts to keep in mind as you look back at the year that was, and consider how to do well in the upcoming year:

DON’T Be Too Hard on Yourself: There are any number of reasons why you might not have gotten everything done that you wanted to do in the past year, many of which were likely outside of your control. Beating yourself up over not getting everything done that you wanted doesn’t do anything to help you improve in the new year, nor does it make the past year any more productive. What it does do is make you feel bad, and put you in a poor state of mind for getting your new goals done.

DO Think About What Went Wrong: This is not to say that you shouldn’t review what happened with your goals in the last year, and try to figure out why you weren’t able to achieve what you hoped to achieve. Looking back on your goals can give you some excellent insights into how to go about improving in the new year. Some possible reasons you ran into trouble could include trying to do too many things at once, making resolutions that were too ambitious (losing two hundred pounds of weight or building up your net worth by $100,000 would both be stretches for the average person), and not creating a reasonable plan for meeting your goal.

DON’T Forget to Learn From Your Mistakes: It’s not enough to know what went wrong if you set yourself up to make the same mistakes again in the coming year. If you discovered that your resolutions were too ambitious, for example, don’t allow your new resolutions for this year to be equally ambitious. Instead, review your resolutions for this coming year in light of what you learned about the past year, and adapt your new resolutions accordingly.

DO Share Your Resolutions: One of the best ways to motivate yourself to get your resolutions accomplished is to share them. Not only can your friends, family, or blog readers (for those of us write blogs, at least) help you to meet your goals through advice or other help, but the simple act of making your goals public can help to make it more likely that you will put in the time and effort needed to accomplish them.

DON’T Get Discouraged: Finally, it’s easy to discouraged when you look back at things you wanted to get done and ended up failing to do. The last thing you want as we start a new year is let past difficulties cause you not to try your hardest. Remember that your success this year is determined only by how hard you try.

That’s some good advice on how to be successful in this new year, if I do say so myself.  Here’s hoping you have plenty of luck accomplishing all your goals for 2012 and beyond!

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