It’s that time of year again. The time when we set our goals for the year to come with the best of intentions at heart. We might even make good progress for a while. But then what happens? Next thing you know, you look up and it’s February, and you forgot what your resolution was in the first place.
Why do so many of our well-intended resolutions fail? How can we have more successful resolutions that we will follow through with? The answer is to be SMART about them!
Life coaches have been helping people set and achieve goals for years, and the reason that life coaches are so successful in helping clients is because they use the SMART method introduced by Paul J. Meyer in his book, Attitude is Everything. That is, goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
A goal should not be set in broad or vague terms (i.e. to lose weight). It should be very specific.
- Goals should be clearly defined.
- Know exactly what action items will be involved, how you plan to complete each action item, who will be involved, and when you will complete each action item.
There must be a way to measure the progress you’ve made in achieving your goal. If your goal is to be more successful, what does success look like? How will you know when you’ve reached it?
- There must be a way to measure the progress and achievement of your goals.
- How are your results quantifiable?
What good is a goal if it is not possible to achieve? Don’t set your goals so out of your reach that you will become discouraged by the daunting amount of work you’ll have to complete over a long extended period of time. Set smaller short-term goals that serve as milestones to get you to your ultimate long-term goal.
- Is your goal realistic?
- Do you possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities to achieve your goal?
- Do circumstances and other external factors allow the possibility for your goal to be achieved?
Sure, you can resolve to climb Mount Everest by the end of the year or to memorize the periodic table, but what will that mean to you in your life? If you know you’ll be travelling the world in the next year, is it really relevant to set a goal of starting a new relationship or a family right now?
- How does achieving your goal apply in terms of your life?
- Is it important? Does it matter? Is it the right time?
Giving yourself a time limit on achieving a specific goal is important. If your goal is not bound by a deadline, it is likely that you won’t have the motivation you need to work on your goal in the here and now… because you can put it off for tomorrow. When you have a deadline to reach a particular milestone on your way to reaching your goal, you will be more likely to work harder at it to make the expected progress.
- When will your goal be completely achieved?
- When will you complete each action item to get closer to your end goal?
I need to lose 20 lbs to have a healthy BMI. I will lose 20 lbs in the next 1 year by losing at least 2 lbs a month. I will achieve this by keeping track of my calorie intake with My Fitness Pal calorie counter app, walking at least 10,000 steps per day using Fit Bit and the Fitbit app, and jogging at least 30 minutes a day using the Nike+ app. I will lose 5 lbs by the end of March, 10 lbs by the end of June, 15 lbs by the end of September, and 20 lbs by the end of December – 5 lbs every 3 months.
Where to Begin
Goals and resolutions are a good way to become more successful in your own life. If you’re having a hard time deciding what your resolution(s) should be this year, start out by defining what success means to you. The life coaching Life Balance Wheel is a good place to start as well. The areas of the Life Balance Wheel include Career, Money, Health, Friends/Family, Romance, Personal Growth, Fun/Recreation, and Physical Environment.
Keep Each Other Motivated
Need help staying motivated in sticking with your goals? Find a friend with a similar goal that you have and share your progress together. Maybe even work on your action items together! Hold each other accountable for maintaining your momentum and getting it done.
General Ideas for New Year’s Resolutions
- Take on a new hobby I’ve been wanting to try.
- Read (x-number) books this year.
- Start a daily/weekly blog.
- Write (x-number) of hand-written letters to friends and family and mail them at set number interval.
- Take up photography.
- Take on a new responsibility at work.
- Spend (x-amount) more time with family/loved one(s).
- Work on my work/life balance.
- Make healthier eating choices.
- Save (x-amount) of money to take my dream vacation at specific time.
- Fix that broken home appliance/shelf/cabinet/etc I’ve been meaning to get to.
- Find ways to create more positives in my relationships.
- Choose a specific marathon or half-marathon, sign up for it, and train for it.
- Take your dog for walks (x-number) days a week.
- Figure out how to get your next promotion at work and make it happen.
- Eat an apple every day.
- Clean out that old junk room/closet/storage space/barn by specific day.
- Select a new theme for your bedroom and redecorate.
- Plan a date night with your significant other (x-number) times a month on a specific day/time.
- Start up game nights (x-number) times a month for your friends and family.
- Learn to cook Korean/African/Irish/etc. food.
- Host a foreign exchange student for a semester or school year.
- Write a how-to book on something you’re really good at.
- Learn a cultural tradition from another country and start implementing it yourself just for fun.
- Build a playhouse/tree house with your kids in the back yard.
- Learn to decorate cakes.
- Learn to fly a plane and get a pilot’s license.
- Go back to school and go for your dream job.
- Have a more positive attitude at work/home/etc.
- Learn a new language.
- Add your ideas in the comment section below!
Need help keeping track of your goals? For a limited time, I am offering my Life Coaching Daily Planner & Organizer: 2014 (regular price $17.99) with a $5.00 Discount using discount code L4A3YUWC. Hurry, though! This discount will only be available through January 31, 2014! Take it to your local office supply store to have it spiral-bound!