Set New Year’s Resolutions or Achieve a Real Goal this Year?
Every year at this time people begin to ponder the parts of their life they wish to change. Usually by January 1st they have come up with a list of those changes. They commit to change on New Year’s Eve after a few glasses of champagne. For some that’s it. They might not even remember them the next day, but most will bring them forward to the first week of the New Year. They may even write them down. These are their resolutions for the next year.
Now here is the problem. Goals, at least ones that will make a difference in your life, are hard. People go back to work, credit card bills from the holidays and family issues and all their good intentions fly out the window. If you have a life, then one worthwhile goal at a time is probably all you can handle. However, most resolutions are not in the form of well written goals. They are usually short, general and lacking any real detail. In order to make a change and have that change become reality you must have a clear vision.
Begin by choosing one goal. Since you are going to focus on just one it should be important to you, the kind of goal that can change your life. For example let’s say you want to lose 50 pounds.
To write out this goal it is important to know more than just a number. I like to use SMART goals as a template.
Specific: I want to lose 50 pounds.
Measurable: I want to lose 50 pounds in 1 year at a rate of approximately 4 lbs. per month.
Achievable: The goal is an achievable and accepted weight loss goal and should not be difficult. I will keep track of current calories consumed and cut 500 calories per day from my current diet and that will equal one pound of weight loss per week. At that rate I should lose approximately 50 pounds in 1 year.
Realistic: I will adjust calories if I plateau so that the weight loss continues at 1 pound per week rate. This goal becomes even more realistic by developing a daily exercise habit. I will be realistic and start with 20 minutes of walking 6 days per week. I will add to this as my fitness level increases. I will also check into a gym or home equipment so that the weather and boredom does not become an obstacle.
Timed: 1 year is the time allotted to this goal. Because this goal is SMART, all I need to do is stick to the plan.
When you read back over this goal now, you can see that it fits all the SMART criteria and makes sense in a way that the original resolution did not. When you use a structure to write your goals they become a much more achievable goal with a plan implicit and that will make all the difference.