Here we find ourselves at the end of another year. We pause and reflect perhaps on this last year, our achievements, our losses, our moments of joy and those of sorrow, the things we have gained, our life changing experiences and so forth. Perhaps we also reflect on our procrastinations and how perhaps much more could have been achieved, had we only put a little more effort into X or Y.
However we also recognise that hindsight truly is a marvellous thing although that actually we are not able to change the past. This then brings us nicely to the next year. So many of us define a list of goals and objectives and although the enthusiasm is there they are perhaps not maintained. Do we actually get to the end our specific journey and arrive what is the goal we set out to achieve.
Setting of from your safe haven of procrastination and onto a journey of what is to be New Year’s resolutions is a good thing. As the famous quote states: ” In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia”. We have just a few more days and so we need to reflect on our year ahead and set ourselves the goals. When setting these resolutions, we do need to make sure they are SMART RESOLUTIONS to ensure we continue on our journey when it becomes harder or we lose the edge of enthusiasm and the eye on the finishing line.
Best to make sure then that our resolutions are SMART Resolutions:
S – SPECIFIC Ensure your resolution is specific enough. Far too often they end up being so vague and then somehow we are amazed that they are not achieved. “To lose weight” is a common but not a specific one. Also “to get fit” is not very specific whereas as “to get fit so to take part in a triathlon” is.
M – MEASURABLE Having a new year’s resolution is one thing and even better if it is specific; however it also needs to be measurable. As they say ‘if you can measure it then you can improve it’. So back to the ‘get fit’ – how on earth are you going to measure it? It is like saying you want to be happier. Good luck with that one. You will never know when you have reached your goal so why have it in the first place. Your resolution could be to lose weight but then let’s make it measurable so maybe ‘lose weight by x pounds or y kg ‘
A – ACHIEVABLE Ok, so now you have a resolution that is both Specific and Measurable but we also need to make sure that it is achievable. Set your goal too high and you will never be able to reach it. Instead you will feel dejected and disappointed. It is so often that these resolutions are set full of enthusiasm but not achievable. If your resolution is a huge one then why not break it down into stages. Better to set the target lower and achieve it than to never even get off the ground. You can always set a follow on goal later this year.
R – REALISTIC All too often we are not realistic in our goal setting. We need to ensure that we have the resources to do this. Training so that I can sail round the world this year is for me not realistic as I would not have the time and more importantly neither the resources. To say I want to give a TED talk is not realistic in the slightest. Training for a triathlon is realistic as I could join others or a local club to achieve this, while setting myself targets along the way.
T – TIMELY Finally our goal needs to have a time element to it. This will set the pace and will make your goal more achievable. Set a date and perhaps milestones along the way. Put reminders in your calendar to check progress. Perhaps to say that ‘I want to get fit by participating in a competitive triathlon by the end of March’ would give me the focus the time to concentrate on my fitness levels and stamina for all three elements.
So instead of ‘ lose weight’ perhaps we should go for:
- SPECIFIC: Lose 20 pounds.
- MEASURABLE: You can weigh yourself at the time and regularity of your choosing
- ACHIEVABLE: Can I lose 20 pounds or am I already near a healthy body weight
- REALISTIC: Considering my current body weight is it realistic to lose this much weight and will it improve my life
- TIMELY: By which date will I achieve this weight loss and should I have smaller milestones along the way
Lastly it is important to write it down and to put it into a prominent position to remind you of your goals. I would also advise you to share your goal with someone such as a friend or family member. Why? – because this creates a level of accountability and therefore encouragement. Accountability on your part to ensure that you do all you can to see it through and accountability on theirs by checking up on you. When sharing it, tell them why you are doing so and ask them to check up on you once in a while.
So don’t procrastinate any longer. Start thinking about what you want to achieve this coming year and develop these ideas over the coming few days. Just make sure they are SMART Resolutions.
Have you set your resolution yet? – why not share and inspire us all by leaving it in the comment box below.