With 2014 rapidly coming to an end, it’s time for the annual tradition that nearly everyone participates in. This tradition is not bound by race, religion, gender, wealth, or any other statute, except the calendar. You’ve guessed it: the New Year’s Resolution.
Just about everyone you know makes a resolution, waiting to be sprung into action at 12:01 AM on January 1st. Many of them follow familiar ideals of self improvement, for example:
I want to lose a few pounds.
I want to save money.
I want to be a better [spouse, sibling, child, friend].
You’ve all heard them from others, and, chances are, you’ve made these same resolutions (or versions of them) yourself. The problem many of us face is, however, is that these resolutions are quickly forgotten or conceded, leaving us the entire year without substantial improvement.
Bestselling author Michael Hyatt offers some tips for making those resolutions stick. Resolutions are, after all, just a different word for “goals”. Hyatt prescribes to the SMART Method of goal-setting:
S – Specific: Your goals just identify exactly what you want to accomplish in as much specificity as you can muster.
M – Measurable As the old adage says, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”
A – Actionable: Every resolution should start with a verb (e.g., “quit”, “run”, “finish”, “eliminate”, etc.)
R – Realistic: You have to be careful here. A good resolution should stretch you, but you have to add a dose of common sense.
T – Time-bound: Every resolution needs a date associated with it. When do you plan to deliver on that resolution?
If we start with “I want to lose weight”, we may end up with something like this: “Lose 5 pounds by March 1st, 2015.” You can also add some extra details, such as how you’re going to accomplish that goal. It may look something like this: “Lose 5 pounds by March 1st, 2015 by walking for thirty minutes, three times per week.”
In the end, resolutions and goals can be powerful motivators and a great step towards self-improvement. You don’t necessarily have to wait for the new year to get started – start on those goals today!