It’s still early in the year, but for many people, New Year’s Eve resolutions are nothing but memories by Valentine’s Day. This year, try a new strategy to make sure you stay on track with your resolutions and create your own calendar. When you have a map that leads you to the good habits you want to instill, you’re far more likely to stick with the program and accomplish the goals you set for yourself. Most achievements aren’t the product of a week or two of effort; they take months to get there, so it only makes sense to have a calendar to track your progress. After all, practice does make perfect.
While you can jot down your goals and milestones on your kitchen bulletin board, a custom calendar can help you stay focused and streamline your progress. Think of the way retail signage gets your attention. A tabletop display or doorway banner draws you in for sales and special offers because attractive colors and fonts catch your eye. Signs are designed to give you all the information you need to make a quick decision to buy, and your custom goal calendar should likewise be easy to read at a glance. You won’t have to think twice to remember whether you weighed yourself or remembered to pack your lunch when your calendar’s easy to see from across the room.
Making New Year’s Resolutions Stick
Maybe this is the year you get your finances in perfect shape and start saving more. Perhaps itâ€™s time to write that great novel you’ve been turning over in your mind for a while. Are you ready to learn a new language just in time for an international vacation later this year? All these goals have one thing in common: They take time. If you don’t invest in these projects over the long haul, you won’t get there.
When asked about the secret to his success, comedian, actor and writer Jerry Seinfeld swore by his calendar. He used a big wall calendar with the whole year’s dates on it, and every day he sat down to write, he finished his session by drawing a red “X” over the date. After a week or two, he had a chain of marks, a chain he didn’t want to break by taking a day off and failing to write. His advice to other comedians and aspiring writers was simple: “Don’t break the chain.”
You may not have a life of comedy planned for yourself, but you can build a chain of any links that are meaningful to you. An hour a day of yoga, a few minutes spent balancing your budget or another healthy breakfast cooked at home might be the steps you want to take. Whatever it is, use your calendar to track it. You’ll feel a greater sense of accomplishment when you see what you’ve been able to do after just a few weeks.
Enjoying Your Resolutions
One of the reasons resolutions fall by the wayside is that they don’t feel like much fun. When you first embark on a project, enthusiasm and motivation carry you, but after a few weeks or months, the resolution that seemed so exciting at first has become dull. Inject some enthusiasm into your New Year’s resolutions with displays that remind you of your ultimate goal. If you’re saving for that trip to Spain, pin pictures of your destination to your bulletin board at work and set them as your phone’s wallpaper. Make a custom calendar with images of the place you want to be and use it as motivation. The same way you might suddenly feel hungry for a hamburger after watching an episode of Spongebob Squarepants working another double shift at the Crusty Crab, you can place advertisements within your life that motivate you to meet your goals this year.
Little rewards along the way to your big goal can also keep you on track. If you’re training to run a marathon by the end of the year, reward yourself with a half day away from the office when you pass a new mile marker or beat your best time. Give yourself a new notebook to reward yourself for following the Seinfeld method and crossing off a month’s worth of days on your wall calendar. Take yourself to the zoo or the park as a present for completing your goals for a week.
Whether you go for the big, plain wall calendar Jerry Seinfeld favors or choose something more compact, personalize your calendar. Think of how sale signage draws you into a store and use the things you find most enticing as part of your calendar. Make this the year you break out of your rut and get creative with your resolutions.
Alison Johnston is a Denver based writer who likes solutions and visual communication. When she isnâ€™t writing you can find her venturing through the neighboring mountains or snuggling up to a good poem.