Setting your 2018 resolution – and keeping it

By Kristen Hemmings, Wealth Management Associate, Coghill Investment Strategies and WLC member

It’s the hap-happiest time of the year, right? That time of year when we reflect on the past year and envision the potential of an upcoming one. There is so much promise, so much excitement at the beginning of a year. And with that promise and excitement comes the making, and often breaking, of new year’s resolutions.

I have kept and broken many resolutions through the years: the weight loss goals that I mostly forget about by March, except the year in which I got married; one year I decided I’d say “yes” to every option put in front of me, but decided two weeks in that I don’t WANT to do everything; and another year I decided to go through my contact list each day and send a random person an encouraging note.

The point is, I know a thing or two about resolutions, and I’d like to share what I’ve learned. Here are some helpful tips to choosing realistic resolutions that are good for yourself and good for others around you:

Feel the burn! And by that I mean, choose something that you have a passion for. Let’s take volunteerism as an example. Deciding you want to become more involved in the community is great, but you have to find something that resonates with who you are and what you believe in. Otherwise, once it becomes work (because all things that are worthwhile are work at times), you will lose interest. If you aren’t sure where to start, consider reaching out to United Way. They can help match you with a cause you care about and give you opportunities to engage with the community.

Surround yourself with like-minded people. If you want to learn a new skill, find people that know how to do it. One year I wanted to learn sign language, so I took a class through community college where we were invited to events with the deaf community, which really helped us learn. If you are trying a specific diet (keto is what I’ll be attempting in the new year), then it won’t help to sit around with your Italian family as they eat plate after plate of pasta and bread. I’m actually speaking to myself on this one, but you get the point!

I’ve found a lot of like-minded, inspirational women through my experience with United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council where I’ve been able to bounce ideas off of friends, share thoughts and find support.

Utilize technology. What’s the point of inventing and investing in technology if we aren’t going to take advantage of it? Technology can help with almost anything – there are apps to help with diets, time-management, organization, and even being happier and more thankful. Let technology help you where it can.

Take one day at a time. When you are struggling with keeping your resolution, thinking about all the long days ahead of you is the best way to become derailed. Of course, this is what our brains are wired to do and all it causes is self-doubt. When you aren’t having a great day in regards to your resolution, give yourself a little grace and focus on making it through the rest of the day. For example, I may want to quit my run at the end of my street, but if I push myself to make it to the next driveway, it is a little easier than asking myself to run three more miles.

No secrets! Make sure you tell people about your goals for the new year. I am the best at deciding not to share my dreams lest they not come true and then I look foolish. But when you share your hopes, you get the privilege of having people support you in your journey. People who ask you questions, help you plan, talk through issues, and become cheerleaders are precious, so hold them close!

Support someone else. Now that you’ve thought about what you want to do differently in the new year, ask yourself how you can help support someone else in their journey. Maybe it’s coffee with a friend to give him or her some encouragement or asking your colleague what you can do to help them be successful. It could also be a simple act of volunteerism that supports another. I volunteer with United Way to build literacy kits that promote reading and learning for local students. We include a personal message of encouragement, and I know that little ounce of support can go a long way for a local kid.

We all should spend time on self-improvement, but be sure to also extend a hand to the people around us. After all, what is more rewarding than all of us meeting our goals together and cheering and supporting each other as we cross that finish line?

And remember, all of us are a work-in-progress and the fact that we make resolutions at all sets us apart. According to only 41% of Americans are even attempting to make themselves better in the new year, and you should be proud that you are trying.


Here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018!