12/24/2014 10:11 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How to Create More Effective New Year's Resolutions

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With the new year just around the corner, many of us are setting our New Years Resolutions. At the same time, there are many of us that may be reflecting on our past year's resolutions. I, for one, am one of those.

At the beginning of 2014, I wrote a list of 28 Things I Want to Do Before 28 (since my birthday is a few days after New Year's). This past year I did eat more greens, get shabu shabu in the U.S., go wine tasting in the Napa Valley, get a new MacBook, get my life more organized, visit LA, create more guided meditations, and get published on The Huffington Post.

Although I did achieve these things, many of the things on this list didn't happen. As a result, I when looking through this list I found my inner critic creeping in and saying things like "Oh you're such a failure," which then caused me to shut down a bit.

But then I found myself roaming around my old room and I came across a New Year's resolutions list for 2004. Back this list was a bit different. Yes, I still wrote down lists with goals I wanted to achieve like "Be on the Quill and Scroll Honor Society before graduation," but these things were never a part of my New Year's resolutions. Rather they were on my list of general "goals" with this attitude of "If I get there, great. If not, then it was only just an idea after all."

And so, for my official New Year's resolutions for 2004 I wrote down simpler things like "Be more optimistic" and "Take a lot more pictures."

And you know the funny thing about this list of my 2004 New Year's resolutions? I remember that when I looked at them by the end of the year I realized that I had achieved every single one! My method of writing simple New Year's resolutions totally worked for me -- and this has now lead me to writing my New Year's resolutions this year the same way as I did back then.

So here are some three tips to follow in creating more effective New Year's resolutions:

Ask yourself: "How would I like to grow and become better?" So overall, how would you like to become better this coming year compared to this last year? Would you like to be more optimistic? Would you like to become better at forgiving and releasing bitter resentments? Would you like to express yourself more in front of certain people? Would you like to become better at processing your emotions rather than repressing them? Would you like to become more emotionally aware?

Ask yourself: "What is something that I'd like to do that I haven't been doing (or do more of)?" So have you always wanted to learn how to paint but you have never done it? Have you been thinking about starting to write a book but you've been putting it off for a long time? Have you been exercising but you feel like it'd be a good idea to start doing it more? Would you like to start running or doing yoga? Would you like to start traveling more -- or, at least, start making plans to travel more?

Keep the list short! The problem with New Year's resolutions is that we may make list of 10, 20 or maybe even 30 things that we'd like to do. This is so much more overwhelming and it makes it so much less likely that you'll actually get around to achieving all of them. Plus, when the list is short, it is so much easier to remember all of them throughout the year. It's easier to keep a running list in your mind of things you want to do throughout the year.

So keep your lists limited to about eight resolutions max. The less the better!


Click to Tweet: When it comes to writing New Year's resolutions, the shorter and simpler the list, the better it is! via @jenilyn8705

Based on my own guidelines, here's my own New Year's resolutions for this upcoming year:

1. Have a regular yoga practice.
2. Write a book.
3. Be nourished through food.
4. Dedicate more time and energy to meditation and prayer.

Take action now!

Based on the tips that I had shared above, create a list of New Year's resolutions for this coming year. Then in the comments below, list at least one of your New Year's resolutions.

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Jennifer is a self and relationship coach and teacher. She helps women worldwide create fulfilling relationships and lives by helping their hearts' true desires to become a reality. Click here for her Free Self and Relationship Healing Meditation.

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