Every January, I can feel that it’s a new year. Something inside me knows I can start over with a clean slate on all those resolutions I never completed or started. However, I tend to beat myself up for not accomplishing all that I meant to do. It’s just too easy to forget my “resolutions” or push them off til later, then I throw my hands up and say, “Why bother?” as another year comes to an end.
So, this year I will turn my resolutions into goals and write them down. Being a home business owner, I know the value of writing goals down. I’ve learned about it at conferences and retreats. I’ve heard about the study that said 3% of Yale graduates who had written goals had more wealth years later than the other 97% of graduates combined.
That makes sense intellectually, but I have never transferred it into action. My goals have always been nebulous and had no defined step-by-step plan, so I do not reach them year after year. Maybe I’m afraid of failure (being a procrastinating perfectionist makes this 99.99% likely) or maybe I’m afraid of success (Who’s afraid of success? you may wonder, but it is a real fear.).
Recently, this idea of written goals became personal. My dear husband reached a specific goal at the end of last year that was great for his employer and even more wonderful for our family. When I asked him how he did it, he reminded me of an acronym he learned while finishing his business degree several years ago: SMART. There are many variations of this, but basically it stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
I will use my goal of reaching my ideal weight (not what society says is should be) as an example.
- Specific–this is pretty simple. Rather than writing “I’m going to lose weight” write down “I’m going to lose 20 pounds.”
- Measurable–how will you take the first step? I ask myself how I’m going to lose 20 pounds? “I will work out at least 3 days a week.”
- Attainable–can you achieve what you have set out to accomplish? Do you feel unmotivated or overwhelmed thinking about it? Then rewrite it. Getting to the gym three days a week is achievable for me though it requires me to be diligent in putting it in my schedule and sticking to it, a bit of challenge for me. But I can visualize myself looking much slimmer for my husband’s 20th high school reunion this summer and it energizes me.
- Realistic–again, pretty simple concept. Is it realistic to think I can lose 20 pounds by June? Most definitely, I was averaging a pound and a half to two pounds of weight loss per week last year when I got started. If the above holds true, I can reach my goal well before summer.
- Timely–set a deadline. This goes in hand with it being realistic. I cannot lose 20 pounds in a month and be healthy. I can, however, lose it in three to four months.
When you think about the resolutions, or goals, you have made for 2010, consider writing them down and use SMART to help you with each step you’ll need to take to make them a reality.