It's that time of year when many people put their best intentions into New Years Resolutions. They're well-meaning and inspiring, but they fizzle out midway through January. In fact, I know more people who just plain don't make resolutions anymore because they don't stick. But why is that?
Well, more often than not those resolutions are too vague or simply unrealistic. If you don’t want another failed resolution, turn them into SMART goals. Heck yeah, acronym time!
SMART goals are...
While I love it when people set goals related to organization, a goal of “be more organized” isn’t very specific. What does “more organized” even look like? Perhaps it’s something more like, “Purge clutter from closets and kitchen cabinets to create manageable space for the things I already own.” Or maybe being more organized is related to your calendar and making it to appointments on time. Whatever the goal is, get specific about it! Paint a clear picture in your mind and then give it words.
This piece is really all about deciding what “done” looks like when you’ve reached your goal. The great thing about setting a measurable goal is that you can work backward from the end goal to make it happen. Want to lose 25 pounds by this time next year? You have 12 months to do it, which means losing about two pounds a month. Those are great mini milestones along the way! I love easy math like that. I can handle 2 pounds at a time more easily than focusing on all 25.
Here’s where you have to get real. Be honest with yourself: Is your goal really something you can achieve in the time you’ve given yourself? If you want to purge clutter and organize every room in your house, that’s not likely to happen by February. You’re also not likely to lose 20 pounds in a month, at least not in a healthy way. Good change is a process, and it takes time. Make your goals achievable so you can stick to them. There’s no point in setting an impossible goal for yourself and then feeling defeated when you don’t reach it. Trust me, I’ve been there. (Run my business AND organize an event for a nonprofit AND host a social gathering AND stick to a new workout routine all in the same month? Hahahahaha!) Setting the bar to where you can reach it is a good thing. As you reach one, you can add a higher one later. I could get into a whole analogy about “leveling up” but that merits a post all on its own.
Your goals need to be relevant to you or you won’t be motivated to stay focused on achieving them. Think about what you truly want and set some relevant goals. Does this goal get you closer to being the person you want to be, or is it a distraction? Does it fulfill you and feed your soul? Or do you think it’s something you “should” be doing even if you don’t really want to? You don’t actually have to do “all the things”. Let go of what doesn’t lift you up and embrace what does.
Deadlines help keep you on track with accomplishing goals, so make sure there’s a specific time frame applied to each goal. As I like to suggest, set some mini deadlines along the way for some of your larger goals to help you reach that final deadline. Then celebrate your progress! Do a nice small thing for yourself when you’ve reached each benchmark. It’ll be something to look forward to as you get through each stage.
What are your goals for 2019? Take your broadly-framed good intentions and get real with them. Be a SMARTy-pants and make this year one filled with focus, intention, and being good to yourself.
Remember, as the wise Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, "A goal without a plan is just a wish."