As the year draws to a close, have you glanced back to see what you’ve accomplished this year? Have you considered what you’d like to achieve next year? During the holiday season, it’s common to review the year behind you and also plan for the one ahead by setting New Year’s Resolutions. Here’s a slight twist on goal setting that may have more sticking power than a traditional resolution. What about a birthday resolution instead? Or an anniversary resolution? Even if your birthday, anniversary, or significant date is in early January, this can still be a more intentional way to think about goals you’d like to meet during your New Year because it’s more specific and meaningful to you.

The Importance of Improvement

Many of us start out strong with our health and wellness goals, business, relationship, or personal goals. Continuous improvement is empowering! But any number of things can occur like an illness or job loss, and that set back makes it tough to get back on track. According to this article on Forbes, less than 25% of people stay committed to their New Year’s Resolutions after just 30 days. Improvement takes effort, planning, and purpose. Self-improvement can positively affect all areas of our lives and even ripple into the lives of others, motivating them to set goals and stay the course. When you commit to your goals you are making a commitment to your present and your future. 

The Pressure of Planning

It can often feel like the year leaps into fast forward mode around Halloween, then 14 parties later it’s already January 2nd! The hectic pace of the latter part of the year can leave folks feeling pressured to make commitments they may not have completely thought through or actually intend to keep. There’s an awful lot of cardio to claim from jumping on and off the New Year’s Resolution bandwagon. But rather than submit to the pressure of planning in the midst of holiday guilt or stress, take time to think through what your New Year will look like if you wrote down some simple, actionable ideas at a different time. 

More Intentional Timing 

When a friend mentioned choosing her late January birthday as the time of year she starts fresh with new goals and plans for the year ahead, it made perfect sense! The Babylonians are credited with being the first group of people to make New Year’s Resolutions, some 4,000 years ago. And they didn’t even start in January; they started in mid-march! Your birthday is personal. Your anniversary of marriage, sobriety, or any other date significant to you is individual. Perhaps a simple shift in your thinking and choosing your birthday or another special date as the start of your “New Year” can help you reframe your plans in a more meaningful way. Maybe this shift will enable you to achieve the goals you set. And it ALWAYS feels good to accomplish a goal!

Your New Year

So, take a deep breath in the midst of the planning, partying, and shopping. Gather your thoughts, and choose a date that’s important to you. Jot a few things down for your New Year, whenever you decide it starts. If you’re wondering what types of things you can choose to create your list of goals, check out this list of 42 practical things you can do to improve yourself. Anytime is the right time to rethink your resolutions, and set some purposeful goals instead. What are you waiting for?