Many of my friends are posting blogs, or advising of their New Year’s Resolutions, since this is supposedly “the day” to do that. Ok, I’ll buy that resolutions are a good thing to have, but why simply limit yourself to New Year’s to do that? My thought is that if you just make a New Year’s Resolution, you can’t hold yourself to it. Seriously! How many people say, “I’m going to resolve to lose weight this year, and go to the gym “X” days a week”? I know I have, in the past. I don’t think I’ve made a resolution in over 10 years. Just because we’re beginning a new decade, I’m not going to start now.
Why am I jaded about New Year’s Resolutions? Because they’re crap, plain and simple! You aren’t held accountable. You rarely succeed. You’re setting yourself up for failure because you chose such a HUGE resolution, that it’s impossible to meet. Therefore, my suggestion is go small, and do it at anytime!
Give yourself an opportunity to look at yourself, and your life, periodically and review/evaluate it. If you gained 25 pounds in 3 months, and all your clothes are tight now, set a goal. Find out what caused the gain, and make a change. BUT don’t go all generic and tell yourself you’re going to lose that 25 pounds, because you won’t. Why? Because your goal is too wide.
What do I mean by that? I mean that your goal has so many holes that I can drive a semi through it! When are you going to do this? How are you going to do it? What are you going to change to make this happen? I learned during a training session several years ago, that we should create SMART(ER) goals. I know, I sound motivational and I’m supposed to be a cynic, but hear me out.
If you insist on making goals, at least do them right. Using the SMART rule, you will be able to make a goal that is attainable over a period of time, that is defined, by you, and allows you to be held accountable. It’s simple, you can use any of these definitions to create your goal. Basically, they mean the same thing, so let it fit your style.
S: Specific, Significant, Stretching, Simple
I’m a fan of Specific because that means that I can’t be general. Funny, that.
M: Measurable, Meaningful, Motivational, Manageable
This one’s a bit tougher to define, but depending on the goal, one will fit. One cannot measure what is immeasurable, so it could be meaningful, or manageable.
A: Attainable, Appropriate, Achievable, Agreed, Assignable, Actionable, Action-oriented, Ambitious
Attainable is the appropriate way to achieve an action-oriented goal. So, I use alliteration a lot, I’ll stop. You get the point.
R : Relevant, Realistic, Results/Results-focused/Results-oriented, Resourced, Rewarding
I have to say that if your goal isn’t realistic, well, it isn’t relevant. I believe they should be both realistic and relevant, but go your own way.
T: Time-bound, Time-oriented, Time framed, Timed, Time-based, Timeboxed, Timely, Time-Specific, Timetabled, Time limited, Trackable, Tangible
Regardless the use of time a hundred times, it means to give yourself a deadline. Of course “deadline” doesn’t fit the SMART, or else you’d have SMARD, and that’s not even a word!
E: Evaluate, Excitable, Ethical
Someone, somewhere added “ER” to be able to give you more to think about. It’s akin to the “what next?” So, after you’ve met your deadline, er…timetable, then you can look at the goals. Why would they indicate excitable? I don’t know. I’d look at the goals, and not get excited about them. So, evaluate the goals, and whether or not you met the goal and why. If you need to start over, that’s what this is for.
R: Reevaluate, Rewarded, Reassess, Revisit, Recorded
Reevaluate is just a way of adding an R to the end of this word, so pitch it! Allow yourself a reward if you met your goal. Something that does not ruin the goal (eg: if you lost 50 lbs, you aren’t going to want to gorge on a HUGE sundae). If you didn’t meet the goal, that’s ok too. Reassess and revisit the goal and the methods, and find out what went wrong, and make the changes necessary. This way, when you reach the goal next time, you can reward yourself.
Why cheat yourself with one resolution that you will most likely pitch after 45 days? Beyond that, why crowd my gym when I’ve been going there for over 6 months before New Year’s! If you want to start the goal on January 1, that’s fine with me, but don’t do the whole “general resolution” thing. Be specific! Make yourself accountable. Because if we aren’t accountable to ourselves, no one is going to make us do anything. Then we become complacent and pissed off at the world. I’m getting close to cliche, so I’ll stop now.
To contradict my friend’s blog on his resolutions, I challenge you to create SMARTER goals one at a time. Baby steps. You will find it’s easier and less stressful, and you may just find that you create a more positive outcome.
So, what are YOU going to do for your future?