As another new year abruptly nudges on in, the notion of making new years resolutions begin to spin around in our heads as we dream of all the changes we will make and the improvements that will start taking shape by the end of the first round of fireworks. These resolutions, by about mid January, will usually have already started to flounder in both attainability and enthusiasm.
What I propose for myself this year however, is to continue to aim high, enthused by the prospects of fresh starts, but will instead lay pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard) with a set of smart goals to replace lofty new years resolutions.
What’s the difference you ask?
A lofty new years resolution would read something like:
- Get healthier
- Make a better blog
- Be more organised
- Get rich
Whilst they may all be things I would like to achieve, such ideals need far more structure if they have any hope of surviving. In other words they need to be:
S – Specific
T– Time framed
Specific– I would need to replace ‘get healthier’ with specific tasks such as ‘I will reduce my coffee intake to 2 cups a day’ or ‘I will walk the kids to school 3 times a week’. Likewise, ‘I will only drink alcohol from Thursday to Sunday’ and ‘I will attend 3 circuit classes a week at the gym’. (these are purely examples so do not hold me to any of these!) If there are no tangible things to achieve, it is unlikely you will have the ability to stick to your bigger picture goals.
Measurable– You need to be able to see your goals working. You need to be able to tick something off or see a change. You need to cross off your 3 walks a week, see an increase in facebook likers, see a savings plan start to grow or see an increase in revenue. It helps if you can ask yourself such questions as “how much? How many? And how will I know when my goal is accomplished?” If you can’t see the goals working for you, then it is unlikely you will stay enthused.
Achievable– your goals must be attainable for your circumstance, taking into account your situation at the time. It is no good saying you will go to the gym 3 times a week if there is no childcare and you have no babysitters.
Realistic – Whilst it is great to aim high, be sure to set your goals at levels that will not leave you feeling disillusioned at the first sign of failure. This also means having a plan to get back on track when things interfere with your goals or you experience setbacks. Having small, achievable goals will help keep you motivated and remain manageable.
Time framed – giving yourself a time frame to complete certan tasks will also help keep you on track and motivated. Again this is where smaller, specific goals come into play in order for you to reach greater long term goals for the year.If there is no time frame set, then a goal loses its sense of urgency making way instead for all manner of procrastination.
So there you have it. A simplified version of a tried and true method setting goals and sticking with them. Setting goals can also be a great exercise to do together with your kids. By getting your kids into the habit early, you allow them to rejoice in successes, develop problem solving skills and see first hand the benefits of planning and persistence.
So whatever your goals and dreams for 2012, I wish you every success and look forward to sharing the journey of a new year with you all.
What are some of your goals for the year ahead?