2011: Resolved

It’s almost here. The dreaded last week of the new year, where you have to pull out that list of New Year’s resolutions you made back in 2009 and see how you did. You have to write a new list. Probably, you have to rewrite your list for this year, which was rewritten from last year, the year before, etc. Seriously, how many times are you going to resolve to lose some weight, travel more, be less cluttered?

At one point in my life, I got so sick of not keeping up my New Year’s resolutions that I just stopped making them altogether. One less thing to worry about–it’s not like I needed the cold harsh reality of January to remind me that I should be hitting the gym five times a week. But everyone needs a fresh start, and New Year’s is as good a time as any. If there are some things that are bugging you, next week is the week to start thinking about how to change them, just in time to ring in 2011 (probably while not working out, eating Chinese food, and imbibing adult beverages–all of which top the no-no’s that people put on their New Year’s Resolution Lists every year.

But the problem with New Year’s Resolutions is that a year seems so big, you feel like you have forever to make them stick. Lose 25 pounds? Damn, that’s a lot. But it’s only TWO pounds a month if you take it over the course of the year. Screw up till March? It’s OK, you’ve got PLENTY of time to make it up. Did you want to see the grandparents more? Spend a little extra time with your friends this year and stop working so much? It’s easy to shun our resolutions for a couple of months in the beginning of the year when they’re so amorphous, and then it’s June, October, November and we’re realizing that we never got around to any of them.

So if you are so brave as to make some New Year’s Resolutions for 2011, CoupMe’s got some suggestions for you. No, we’re not going to tell you how to achieve them–you know how to do that. We’re going to let you in on some secrets to setting them, and setting yourself up for success.

Resolution #1: Give Credit Where Credit is Due: Seriously, before you touch pen to paper on your to-do list, write up a “done it” list. Maybe this list doesn’t match last year’s resolution list, and maybe there are a couple of items that overlap. Life doesn’t always go according to plan, but chances are that you’re coming out of this year with something accomplished. OK, so you didn’t train for that half-marathon you thought you’d run, but it’s because you were so busy at work after you got a huge promotion? Give yourself a few minutes to write down what you did RIGHT this year before you start thinking about what you’d like to achieve in the next.

Resolution #2: Get Organized: This is on my list every year. I spend the week before New Year’s cleaning out my email inbox and going through piles of junk mail. On January 1, my life is organized into neat compartments. By January 31, my inbox is a monster again. This year, don’t just clean up, create a system. Take advantage of post-Christmas sales next week and buy up some cute baskets to sort your papers. Create labels and folders in your email account–and stick to them. Resolve to have a plan to stay organized, and you will.

Resolution #3: Lose Weight/Work Out More/Eat Healthier: Whatever your pick of these slim-down resolutions, you’re not alone. Health probably tops the list of New Year’s Resolutions, which means one of your family members, coworkers or friends most likely is making the same one. Use this to your advantage. Don’t resolve to work out more, resolve to take Spin once a week with your sister, or get together once a week with friends to cook a new healthy recipe. Resolve to be accountable for someone else for your eating and exercise habits, and don’t worry so much about the number on the scale.

Resolution #4: Travel More: Despite the dreams of Paris and Australia and Japan in your head, please do not write this one down. Instead, make a definite decision about how you’re going to do it. Before the new year rolls around, book plane tickets. Mark dates on your calendar and put a destination in. Whether you’re going a state over or hopping the pond, you need definite plans that won’t break the bank and will allow you to go where you want to go. Really not sure what you want to do? Pick a date and a monetary goal, and on that day, check out travel deals to pick the best one. Book it immediately.

Resolution #5: Spend More Time with Family Members/Friends/Significant Other: You’ve made it through 2010, and like most of us, you’re probably burnt out on the holiday season and the challenges of getting through another year. There are so many demands on our time, and sometimes spending time with the people most important to us is the first thing to go. But if you just resolve to “spend more time,” you’re going to find a million ways around it. Instead, come up with regular plans or new traditions that are manageable (Every week? Once a month?), put them on your calendar, and stick to them.

So in 2011, resolve to be a little bit more concrete about your resolutions. Make plans and stick to them. Avoid making big resolutions that you’ll be able to put off for the first eight months of the year. And please, don’t make a resolution that will make you miserable or doesn’t make any sense for your life. The point of a New Year’s Resolution is to make you a better–not totally different–person. Happy Holidays and good luck making resolutions next week!

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