Winter-Proofing Your Resolutions

It is already January 6, so it might seem a bit late to talk about New Years Resolutions, but something I ran across on my Twitter feed today made a great point: Winter is the time to start making your goals, but it is not usually a good time to complete your goals.

Right now, if you take a look at the gym in the basement of our office building, you would see a crowd of people eagerly trying to reach their 2010 goals, but what will happen when a snow blizzard hits that makes it difficult for people to get to the gym?

For whatever reason, no matter where we live, winter can be a tough time for most people and simple things like shorter days, bad weather, and busy times at work can take a toll on personal goals.

We often talk about recession-proofing our businesses, but what can we do to winter-proof our personal goals for the New Year?

Here are a few ways to create resolutions that will be a success rather than a disappointment when the silver ball drops on 2011 next year:

Start with planning; then, move on to action.

Most people choose their New Years resolutions and start working on those goals on the first day of the year. Instead of jumping right in to your 2010 goals, however, start the year with the planning process.

During the months of January and February really dig in and reflect on the lessons you learned last year.

Think hard about which goals matter most, and prepare a plan of action that you can stick to when energy picks up in the spring.

This will help prevent burnout, and it will give you a chance to make a well-educated decision about which goals matter the most this year.

Prioritize your goals.

Does your New Years resolution look something like this: “This year I plan to get in shape, start a new business, quit smoking, pay down all of my debt, find a job and meet the love of my life”? It might make more sense to pick out just one or two top priorities that matter most this year and save the rest for later.

Be realistic.

Set goals that can be broken down into smaller parts. If you are planning to pay off debt in 2010, make sure that your goals are reasonable.

For example, it may not be feasible to resolve to be debt free by 2011 if you just started a new law firm or finished law school, but you could resolve to pay off a single credit card, organize your expenses or create a ten-year, pay-down plan that you can implement this year.

What other ways do you ensure successful resolutions for the New Year? And what are your top priority goals for 2010?