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How to Set Solid New Years Resolutions

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When we were younger, most of us probably heard the words “everyone’s a winner” enthused by one of our teachers, coaches, or even parents. As young women who have successfully navigated the pressures of college, the workplace, and/or the dating scene, we’re fully cognizant that, really, not even the most optimistic of us can say the above with confidence. I think the sugarcoaters were on to something, though. A blanket compliment might ring hollow, but we all win when we understand our goals and the best ways to reach them. This is why I’m a big advocate of setting New Year’s resolutions.

I was never a Type-A child; these tendencies emerged later. Growing up, I spent countless hours crafting greeting cards, experimenting with homemade jewellery, and getting lost in the endless worlds housed in endless novels. Time seemed infinite, and I was happy experimenting in my own world. “I think it’s healthy to work in a vacuum as an artist” said James Cameron, but we can’t all be him. I hit my stride when I started writing down what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be, how I planned to get there, and talking about it. Each year I look back amazed that my true north never veers off too far. It is reassuring that I’m on the right path, and so confidence building that I set increasingly complicated goals that I don’t seem quite so complicated by year end.

That said, my secret to setting great resolutions is not to take them too seriously. Yes, I think it’s a good idea to spend a few soul-searching hours considering the past and plotting the future. I want to write out unspoken desires, and have brave goals written down so they are tangible. Even better if they seem unrealistic; every person should set aside time to dream “sky’s the limit” dreams and believe they can come true. But when I’m done my list, I leave it. I don’t follow it exactly. I check if about once every quarter, so I can be reminded of things I want to do and smile on ones I set that no longer give me pleasure to pursue. At the end of the year, I tend to have accomplished – or at least made steps to be closer to accomplishing – the majority of my goals. The ones that weren’t accomplished likely are no longer relevant, or re-tweaked and added to next year’s list. Either way, last year’s goals give me a clear map to the person I was a year ago. This then helps me reflect on the person I am today and the person I want to be at the end of next year.

So I encourage you to set New Year’s resolutions! Don’t take them so seriously; use them as a guide to help you be who you want to be, and do what you want to do.

What are your goals to further your career in 2014?

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