Setting S.M.A.R.T. New Years Resolutions

Every New Year million s of people get great ideas that they are going to set as resolutions. They are inspired by one thing or another and they set out in search of the perfect New Year’s resolution. Gym managers are busier than ever signing up fresh new resolution setters that intend to lose that extra weight. Husbands set out to be more attentive to their spouses. Commitments are made to spend less time at work and more at home. Instruments are purchased with their new owner’s intent to play them. Credit card companies quiver in fear because so many people vow to pay them off and never use them again. Friends get excited at the knowledge that there will be more dinner parties and social outings. The garage and offices of the world will finally be de-cluttered and organized.

Then something happens!!! And that something is called Life!

Life takes its course and takes us of our course. The gym’s empty again in April. Husbands are once again spending less quality time with their wives. More and more time is spent at work and less time is spent at home. Instruments are neatly packed in their cases hiding in the closets. Credit card companies are once again making record profits. Friends aren’t getting together as often as they would hope. And the garage and offices are not de-cluttered in fact there is now more stuff in them.

Wow! Life sure has a way of happening doesn’t it!

But as they say … life goes on. Another year comes and here we are in January setting new resolutions and resetting old resolutions. Somehow we expect a change! Unfortunately, the stats aren’t in favour of you getting that change. “In fact 33% of the people who set New Year’s Resolutions don’t make it past January and 75% are abandoned soon after.” [1] The reason? There is no commitment, foundation or passion behind these resolutions.

IMPORTANT!!! So often resolutions are about what you think you should be doing. We see a magazine that tells us how to start the ultimate small business or how to get in shape by summer. So often you buy into other people’s expectations and we even create expectations of ourselves that aren’t true. You have to forget about what you and other people think you should do and look at what you really want! Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what present conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.

There is hope for you to set SMART Resolutions that work. And to start with this I have a fantastic question for you to ask yourself.

Do you want to live a full life?

Living a full life isn’t about making half-hearted decisions that don’t really mean anything. One quality of successful people is that they are confident. In other words, they trust themselves and know what they want. People who are confident in themselves have been knocked down but they have something built into them that empower them to get back up and keep going. Having confidence in yourself also means that you identify with the values and passions deep within your core. Every man, woman and child can become more confident in themselves and know themselves even more. What it means to live a full life should be answered individually. However, those who live full lives have the confidence to make choices based on what really matters to them and then they jump in with both feet.

Best Selling Author Stephen Covey talks about resolutions this way:

“Begin the New Year by setting one New Year’s resolution. Ask yourself, ‘what one thing could I change that would significantly increase my happiness?’ Be honest with yourself and examine your intent, motive and desire for setting your goal. It must align with your deepest values, motivations and with what is most important to you. Otherwise, you won’t have the passion or discipline to stay committed when the going gets tough, especially when there are so many other thi ngs distracting you from achieving your resolution.”[1]

Here is an Action Plan called “S.M.A.R.T.” It is a proven technique in goal setting that coaches and counsellors have recommended for many years.

“S.M.A.R.T.” Is a powerful acronym that if applied will give you success in achieving your goals. The following is a summarized verion of “Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals.” [2]

First of all you need to minimize your list down to 2 – 7 manageable resolutions.

“George Miller, a 1950’s psychologist, proposed that we can only deal with 7 bits of information at any one time.” Setting 20 goals may not be that helpful to you and you will be likely to become overwhelmed. However, setting a manageable number like 5 goals may be the right fit.

Specific – A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:

*Who: Who does the goal involve?
*What: What do I want to accomplish?
*Where: Where is the location or place?
*When: When will you accomplish it? Set a time frame.
*Which: Which are the things that would hold you back from accomplishing this goal?
*Why: Why do you want to accomplish this goal?

One common mistake when setting goals is that you aren’t detailed enough. This can cause problems when we need to articulate these goals to work mates, life partners or even to ourselves. EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Get in shape.” A specific goal would be, “Join a Martial Arts Club by January 30th and commit to going three times a week in the current year.”

Measurable - Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal. To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as……How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?

Attainable – When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.

Realistic – To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be.

Timely – A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10 lbs., when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by May 1st”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal

You can live a fuller life!  You can walk with more confidence and make choices and resolves based on what really matters to you!  You may not be where you hope to be with your confidence or with living a full life but it’s a New Year.  You can start today to make SMART Resolutions. First ask yourself ‘what one thing could I change that would significantly increase my happiness?’ And then, set your SMART Resolutions that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

Written by: Scott Epp

Abundance Coaching

[1] http://www.reuters.com/article/idUS132935+18-Dec-2007+BW20071218

[2] http://www.topachievement.com/smart.html

Quote of the Week

“The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. It is not disgrace to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to.”
 
- Benjamin E. Mays
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