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New Year and Christmas

How to Make (and Keep) a New Year's Resolution

Are you making a resolution for 2018? Warning: More than half of all resolutions fail, but this year, they don’t have to be yours. Here’s how to identify the right resolution to improve your life, create a plan on how to reach it, and become part of the small group of people that successfully achieve their goal.

Pick the Right Resolution

You’ll give yourself your best shot at success if you set a goal that’s doable — and meaningful too.

According to the time management firm FranklinCoveyone a third of resolutioners don’t make it past the end of January.

  • A lot of these resolutions fail because they’re not the right resolutions. And a resolution may be wrong for one of three main reasons:
  • It’s a resolution created based on what someone else (or society) is telling you to change. 
  • It’s too vague.
  • You don’t have a realistic plan for achieving your resolution.

Your goals should be smart — and SMART. That’s an acronym coined in the journal Management Review in 1981 for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. It may work for management, but it can also work in setting your resolutions, too.

  • Specific. Your resolution should be absolutely clear. “Making a concrete goal is really important rather than just vaguely saying ‘I want to lose weight.’ You want to have a goal: How much weight do you want to lose and at what time interval?” said Katherine L. Milkman, an associate professor of operations information and decisions at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “Five pounds in the next two months — that’s going to be more effective.”
  • Measurable. This may seem obvious if your goal is a fitness or weight loss related one, but it’s also important if you’re trying to cut back on something, too. If, for example, you want to stop biting your nails, take pictures of your nails over time so you can track your progress in how those nails grow back out, said Jeffrey Gardere, a psychologist and professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. Logging progress into a journal or making notes on your phone or in an app designed to help you track behaviors can reinforce the progress, no matter what your resolution may be.
  • Achievable. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have big stretch goals. But trying to take too big a step too fast can leave you frustrated, or affect other areas of your life to the point that your resolution takes over your life — and both you and your friends and family flail. So, for example, resolving to save enough money to retire in five years when you’re 30 years old is probably not realistic, but saving an extra $100 a month may be. (And if that’s easy, you can slide that number up to an extra $200, $300 or $400 a month).
  • Relevant. Is this a goal that really matters to you, and are you making it for the right reasons? “If you do it out of the sense of self-hate or remorse or a strong passion in that moment, it doesn’t usually last long,” said Dr. Michael Bennett, a psychiatrist and co-author of two self-help books. “But if you build up a process where you’re thinking harder about what’s good for you, you’re changing the structure of your life, you’re bringing people into your life who will reinforce that resolution, then I think you have a fighting chance.” 
  • Time-bound. Like “achievable,” the timeline toward reaching your goal should be realistic, too. That means giving yourself enough time to do it with lots of smaller intermediate goals set up along the way. “Focus on these small wins so you can make gradual progress,” Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit” and a former New York Times writer, said. “If you’re building a habit, you’re planning for the next decade, not the next couple of months.”

Questions for discussion:

  1. Do you like the New Year holiday? Why?
  2. What does New Year mean for you? Is it just a change of a calendar or a symbol of a better tomorrow?
  3. Do you celebrate Christmas? Can atheists celebrate it?
  4. Do you like to prepare New Year presents, or it is a nightmare for you? Do you prepare New Year presents only for your family or also for your friends and colleagues?
  5. Do you like to decorate New Year tree? Why? What New Year tree do you like more - a real tree or an artificial one?
  6. How do you prefer to spend New Year and Christmas?
  7. Did you believe in Father Frost in the Childhood? Do you remember the moment when you stopped to believe in it? How did it happen?
  8. Do you have any family traditions related to the New Year or Christmas Celebration? If yes, what are they?
  9. Do you believe that just as you meet the New Year, so you’ll spend it?
  10. What would you like to change in your life this year?
  11. What worries you the most in the coming year?
  12. Where did you meet this New Year (at home with family; with friends; at the club; at the Red Square; in some trip)? Did you like it? Would you like to meet the next New Year in the same way?
  13. Do you have trouble picking out gifts for family members and friends? Do you prefer to buy gifts or do you give gifts that you've made yourself? What do you like more: to give presents or to be given ones? 
  14. What do you like to do on New Year holidays (to do nothing; to go to friends/relatives; to go to the cinema; to go shopping; to go in for sports (skating, skiing, etc), to go to some trip; smth else)?
  15. Do you usually travel over the New Year Holidays or do you stay closer to home? If traveling, do you prefer to go to winter destinations or warmer locations? If you stay, do you go out to celebrate or stay at home? 
  16. What are your New Year wishes?​
  17. Do you typically do any New Year resolutions? Do they turn in reality? Did you do New Year resolutions this year?
  18. How would you rate this past year? What were some challenges and successes for you? Are there any things that you regret?  
  19. Do you look at the new year as an opportunity to make changes in your life? 
  20. Do you like that the city is decorated two months before the New Year? Does it kill you New Year's mood or lift your spirits?
  21. Do you think New Year is worth to be spent a lot of money for? 
  22. Is New Year an occasion for many companies to make us drain our purses?
  23. Do you think consumerism has replaced the real spirit of the holidays?

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