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Five Rules for Drafting New Years Resolutions

I imagine most of you are dreaming up New Years resolutions today. Procrastinate less. Lose weight. Change jobs or get promoted. Those seem to creep up on everyone’s list each year. It also seems we unrealistically wish transformations would happen overnight. Each year, January 2nd feels like a let down. It’s the dreaded day I realize my life is no different than it was December 31st.

Dreams will merely remain ideas unless you create realistic opportunities to work at them.

Despite some annual disappointment, I continue to embrace the New Years hype. The celebration honors victories both big and small of the previous year, while simultaneously closing the door on the year’s unexpected heartache.

Whether you love or hate this holiday, I encourage you to draft up a few (or more) goals for the new year. Here are five suggestions for creating a resolutions list that works:

1) Do it today.

You’ve said you want to stop procrastinating. Make your resolutions list before the new year kicks off. You’ll feel a greater obligation to go after your goals if you can reference them from day one.

2) Be realistic.

Dropping 20 pounds in the first week of the year is not realistic. Neither is becoming filthy rich or ridiculously famous. The biggest accomplishments are achieved through successfully conquering a series of smaller goals. Give details the attention they deserve. Dreams will merely remain ideas unless you create realistic opportunities to work at them.

3) Leave holes.

The year will inevitably deliver unexpected news— both positive and negative. Perhaps you’ll be offered a career you never dreamed possible. Or, a new relationship might blossom despite your best efforts to remain independent. We may lose someone we love, or experience heartache God didn’t prepare us for. Leave holes in the plan. We all need a little blank space in our lives.

4) Make revisions.

Get out your red pen. A resolution you make today may drastically change from what you envision a few months from now. That’s okay. Look at your list as a guide, rather than a hard set of rules.

5) Be present.

Though you’re dreaming of the future, don’t overlook the present. Strive to be better day-to-day. Merely celebrating the big victories will leave you feeling unsatisfied. Promise to embrace both triumph and defeat— and more importantly— everything in between.

Now get started on that list of yours. And tell me— what works for you?