Setting resolutions in the new year always seems like a good idea on paper, especially after the year we just had, but all too often, these resolutions set us up for failure. So, how do we go into the new year with actionable goals rather than creating lofty ideals that we get over three weeks into the year?
Well, first off, setting goals rather than resolutions is a good place to start. Though they are the same concept, the word “goal” feels so much more attainable and like something you want to do instead of having to do.
Next, set SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based goals.
Assess your goals. Often we set lofty, wide-sweeping goals in the new year, thinking too broadly. Take some time to be specific about the what and the how of your goals.
Make Sure The Can Be Measured
Can you measure the success of your goals? Are your goals set up that you recognize when you are attaining them? Make sure that you can measure the success of your goals as you work on them so that you can recognize your successes. When you can see yourself achieving your goals, it will only further drive you to accomplish what you set out to do!
Are Your Goals Attainable?
Again, it is all too easy to begin the year with lofty ideas, which is how we often set ourselves up for failure when it comes to resolutions. Are you setting goals that are realistic, actionable, achievable? It is okay to have big dreams, but there are steps to get there. Instead of making one lofty resolution, set small goals to work towards the big goal. When you check goals (even small ones) off your list, you are more likely to keep the momentum going.
Set Relevant Goals
Are your goals relevant to who and where you are? We get so busy comparing ourselves to our peers that we can sometimes set goals based on other people’s lives and not our own. Make sure your goals are relevant and important to you – not someone else. You are far more likely to succeed if you are working towards goals relevant to you and where you want to be rather than comparing your life – the grass will always feel greener, so water your side and watch it bloom. Like Dale Carnegie said, “Let’s not imitate others. Let’s find ourselves and be ourselves.”
Have An Expectation Of Time
Now, to be clear, this is not to say that you should have an expected time to have your goals accomplished, but rather set a time for you to work on your goals. If one of your goals is to exercise or meditate more, then set a specific time each day for you to do it – make it a part of your to-do list. You are far more likely to stick with something if you set an expectation for yourself, rather than leaving it open-ended. If you say, “I will meditate/workout every day at 7 am,” you will set the expectation for yourself to follow-through. If you just set the expectation of “I am going to workout/meditate more often,” you leave yourself open to vulnerability or excuse-making – I am too tired, it’s too late, I have too much to do, and so on. Have a plan of action.
While using the SMART guidelines will help you be more successful in your goal-getting, the one true test of reaching your goals is resilience. If you fall along the way, don’t beat yourself up, and certainly don’t stay down. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again. As long as you are trying, you are succeeding.
“You can sing only what you are. You can paint only what you are. You must be what your experiences, your environment, and your heredity made you. For better or worse, you must play your own little instrument in the orchestra of life.” –Dale Carnegie