As conversations swirl around New Year’s resolutions, you may be geared up and ready to post your new goals, or you may be too overwhelmed with what wasn’t completed last year to add anything new. Either way, before you write out your resolutions, your best investment of effort will be to complete these three tasks.

1. Identify Your priorities

Some of us are able to rattle our priorities off right away while others need to do some digging. Regardless, take a moment to consider your desired priorities and compare them to those you currently display.

How: Evaluate what you spend your money on and how you spend your time. The themes you see reveal some of your current priorities. Next, write out what you want to be known for. This gives you clues on what priorities you want your life to display. Compare these current and desired priorities and create an ordered list you want to maintain this year.

(Common priorities are: relationships, family, faith, financial freedom, entertainment, skills, intellect, health)

2. Organize Your Brain

Our brain has the capacity to hold an incredible amount of thoughts. Every task, hope and dream we send up into our head swirls around with the thousands of others hindering our ability to recall and think clearly, positively and rationally. Until we take the time to sort out our to-dos, lofty goals will become too lofty, and current tasks will remain undone.

How: Grab a notebook and write down every task that comes to mind. Imagine you are walking through the landscape of your house, car, daily schedule and/or relationships, and let your pencil transfer thoughts to paper. The first purpose of writing these out is to give your brain a rest from holding onto them. The second purpose is to give you the opportunity to identify why this task is important and how this matches/doesn’t match with your priorities. As you look over your list, recognize what tasks fail to meet a priority. Allow yourself to release those things that are the least necessary or important, and get ready to make a plan to complete those that are more valuable.

3. Put it on your Calendar

You have your routine. There may be some wiggle room, but the thought of revamping your schedule to meet every one of your to-dos is daunting and unnecessary. Remember, not all of your tasks need to be completed immediately or even this year. Some of your top priorities may take only a small amount of intentional time each week. Other tasks low on your priority list require more time and that is ok.  This consideration of time in relation to your task list and priorities will provide you with worthy resolutions.

How: Look over your schedule and find the wiggle room. Push yourself to wake up early, evaluate some of your plans/routines and check them with your priorities. If you like to be in the know of pop culture, but your priority of getting organized is more important, forfeit a Netflix show once a week. Push yourself, but be realistic. Look at what works with your schedule, reflects your priorities, and includes your to-dos.

Now you are ready to write down your resolutions.

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Allison Struber is an educator, writer, military spouse and mother of three. Read more of her writings at