How to Set New Year’s Resolutions That Will Change Your Life

“You CAN have it all. You just can’t have it all at once.” -Oprah Winfrey

In order to set my intentions for a new month, I start by taking inventory of 10 categories that I believe to be the top 10 most important things in my life. I prioritize these areas based on my current situation.

First, I rate each area out of 10 and determine how well I’m performing in each. I tend to be relatively hard on myself and so this list can appear daunting at first glance. This is why I select the three areas that I want to focus on from these low-scoring contenders.

Finally, I create actionable goals and plans surrounding these three areas so that I can commit to them in the upcoming month. I try to keep these goals ambitious yet attainable.

The Top 10 Most Important Things in Life

Rate your success in the following 10 areas of your life and create intentions around the three areas where you feel you can improve the most.

1. Health and Physical Fitness

Your health should always be #1. You’re not able to take care of other areas in your life if you don’t first take care of yourself. Your health goals could be as crucial as managing a chronic illness or as basic as prepping healthy meals each day.

Rate your health and fitness out of ten.

2. Mental Health

We are realizing that the mind and body are more closely linked than we ever thought before. Even if you’re pleased with your physical health, it’s just as important to take a long hard look at your mental health.

Poor mental health can often be identified by looking at your energy levels. Do you find yourself dragging your feet out of bed? Are you exhausted from chasing around neurotic thoughts of talking down your anxiety? Remember that a bad day is different than a bad three months. Mental health issues are persistent when they go untreated.

Rate the state of your mental health out of ten.

3. Spirituality

Spirituality would not have been on my list a few years ago. I realize now that spirituality doesn’t have to include an association to a religion or a particular set of beliefs. For me, spirituality is the recognition of your soul and its connection to something greater than yourself.

This could be a collective consciousness, the universe, God, or whatever you choose to call it. Spirituality is the undercurrent that infuses our lives with meaning. I believe that as we tune into our spirit, we can better direct the other categories of our lives to serve our highest good.

Rate your spiritual life out of ten.

4. Immediate Family and Close Friends

Social interaction is critical for mental and physical health. Although you may fantasize about living as a hermit when human connection feels exhausting, “dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer” according to Harvard Women’s Health Watch.

Take a long hard look at your immediate family and friendships. Focus on the quality of these social bonds rather than the quantity and determine if this is an area you would like to dedicate more energy toward.

Rate the quality of your family/friend relationships out of ten.

5. Work and/or Purpose

Some people’s work is their purpose. Some people’s work pays the bills, while their purpose happens off the clock. Regardless of your situation, it’s important to feel as though you’re contributing in a meaningful way to other people’s lives and to the world.

If you don’t feel a sense of purpose in your job but need to support yourself and your family, think about starting a side-hustleThere are lots of opportunities to create a blog, start a business or volunteer.

Rate your work/purpose out of ten.

6. Financial Situation

Most people wish they could do better in this area. It’s important to be able to live a comfortable life and feel a sense of security financially. Whether you support yourself or a family unit, no one wants student loans and consumer debt hanging over their head.

Review your spending habits, savings and potential debt. You may not have your retirement plan ready to go, it’s more important that you have a financial plan in place that is tailored to your goals.

Rate your financial situation out of ten.

7. Living Space or Living Situation

Clutter is exhausting. “Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli (visual, olfactory, tactile), causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren’t necessary or important” (Psychology Today). When our immediate environment is disorganized it can begin to clutter our minds.

Our living situation can also refer to our contentment with our home/apartment, housemate, or the country/city we’re living in. All of these factors influence our environment and make a huge difference in our lives.

Rate your living space/situation out of ten.

8. Personal Growth

Life is boring without growth. We have this need to continue developing, learning, growing, and improving. In the workplace, people like to experience upward mobility over time. In family life, people like to watch their children mature. If you feel like you’re in a rut or simply bored, you may need to seek out growth opportunities.

Growth is often the product of overcoming challenges or experiencing changes. Challenge yourself in different areas to spark your own growth.

Rate your personal growth out of ten.

9. Romance

Independent from the basic human connection is the need for intimate or romantic human connection. There is no one-size-fits-all for what constitutes the ideal romantic life. You could be content living that single life right now (10/10) or you could be seeking a lifetime partner and not putting in the necessary effort (2/10).

Ask yourself what you want or need right now and then take an honest look at where you are. If you’re in a toxic relationship, complaining about being single, or afraid to get back out there, it could be time to focus attention on your romantic life.

Rate your romantic life out of ten.

10. Pure Joy

Most of the time, pure joy happens to us out of the blue. You hold your niece for the first time or you see someone help out a person in need and you feel those warm fuzzy feelings. You can actively increase the frequency of pure joy in your daily life.

Pure joy is different for everyone. For me, being out in nature, travelling, painting, reading, or helping other people give me a sense of pure joy. It’s about finding what’s right for you and adding more of it to your life.

Rate your source of pure joy out of ten.

Improve Your Life, One Step at a Time

After you calculate a score for each category, pick the three lowest scoring or most important areas you want to focus on and create an intention for each. Use the intention to establish a goal, and finally, use the goals to establish a plan. Track your success and reflect on it once your designated timeline is complete.