Christmas really is my favorite season. So, it’s always a bit of a letdown when the holiday has passed – or it would be if my other favorite season didn’t follow so closely on its heels. You know what season I’m talking about, right?
Goal setting season!
Hmmm…Judging from the silence that followed my statement, I’m guessing that some of you aren’t quite as excited as I am about setting goals.
I think I know why. You’ve tried it before, perhaps year after year, but you’re never really able to follow through with your resolutions. I’ve been there and I get it, believe me. New Year’s Resolutions are the worst!
That probably explains why the internet is riddled with jokes about the making (and breaking) of New Year’s Resolutions.
Here are a few of my favorites.
My New Year’s resolution is to help all my friends gain ten pounds so I look skinnier.
I was going to quit all my bad habits for the new year but nobody likes a quitter.
My resolution was to read more so I put the subtitles on my tv.
A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.
I think that the last one is less of a joke and more a statement of fact. Most New Year’s resolutions don’t last longer than a few days or weeks, let alone all year.
That’s why I never make any.
Resolutions vs. Goals
When a new year rolls around, it’s natural to think about the things we’d like to do or see happen during that year. It’s also natural to start to remember all of the new years that have passed, how we started out with the best of intentions, a laundry list of resolutions, only to get to the end of the year and find we hadn’t stuck with any of them.
Studies have shown that only 8% of people who make resolutions actually keep them. And you know what Albert Einstein said, right? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing, over and over, and expecting to get a different result.
If you’ve been making resolutions year after year, only to see them fall by the wayside in a few days, weeks, or months, expecting those resolutions to suddenly produce results isn’t just an exercise in futility, it’s a little bit crazy.
But does that mean that wanting to make improvements in your life is also a crazy, fruitless exercise? Not at all!
Making resolutions doesn’t work. But making goals, the right kind of goals, can make 2020 the best, most productive, most fulfilling, and most amazing year of your life.
Play it SMART This Year
If you’ve been making resolutions year after year and not seeing results, it’s time to change your approach. This year, instead of making resolutions, try making goals.
Better yet, try making SMART goals.
At the end of every year, I spend a significant amount of time sorting through my hopes, dreams, and desires to figure out what I would most like to accomplish in the coming year. This first step is really important. And more importantly, as I have mentioned in a previous post about productivity, writing my goals down gives me more conviction and courage in achieving those goals.
There are always more things I’d like to do, improvements I’d like to make, or good habits I’d like to establish (along with a few bad ones I’d like to break!) than I can realistically accomplish within a single year. Narrowing down the list to those that really matter to me helps me focus and increases my chances of success.
Once I’ve figured out what goals I want to accomplish, I put some serious thought into how to make that happen. Doing that requires making my goals SMART.
What is a SMART Goal?
What constitutes a SMART goal? It’s a goal that is…
For those of you that love a good acronym, I’m sure this one will make your acronym-loving hearts go pitter-pat! Plus, it makes it easy to remember.
Creating a SMART goal will help you establish a framework for success and can serve as a huge first step in mapping out a plan that will take you from where you are now to where you’d like to be a year from now.
SMART Goal Setting Tips: Where to Start
If you’ve ever worked in a corporate environment, chances are good that you’ve heard about the SMART goal system and used it for project planning purposes. SMART goals are just as effective on a personal level as they are on a project level. And they’re probably a lot more fun because you’ll be making progress on the goals that are most important to you.
The bottom line of this post is that making SMART goals is exponentially more effective than making resolutions. I can vouch for that personally. They’re also a lot more fun!
So, how can you start making your own SMART goals?
My free Goal Setting Workbook, updated for 2020, will help you create SMART goals that will get your year off to a great start!
Whatever it is you’d like to accomplish in 2020, the first step on the road to making it happen might begin by requesting the 2020 Goal Setting Worksheet to create your own set of SMART goals. Sign up below.
The Results don’t Lie
SMART goals really can make a difference! It’s been fun to look back on 2019 and see just how many of the SMART goals I created this time last year came to fruition.
Thanks to SMART goals and the action plans that went with them, I was able to finish a huge writing project, run another triathlon in a much faster time, take my mother camping, migrate my old blog to my new, updated website, sign a contract with a new publisher, take a walking tour in England with my husband, and read several classic books.
Did I accomplish every single goal I created for 2019? No. Some of my goals were modified because of changing circumstances. And as the year progressed, I realized that some of the goals I’d created weren’t as important as I’d first thought.
But I made a lot of progress toward my goals in 2019. That’s why I’m so excited about making new goals for 2020 and inspiring others to do the same.
Your Turn for SMART Goal Setting
So enough about me! Let’s talk about you!
Where would you like to see yourself one year from now?
Would you like to lose weight? Find a better job? Improve your marriage? Grow in your faith? Read more books? Downsize your home? Take a special trip?
All of these are totally legitimate – and totally doable – goals for the coming year. Just remember you need to outline actionable steps to achieve success. Otherwise, it will soon be 2020 and we will still be having the same conversation.
Set yourself up for success. Achieving goals isn’t for sissies. It’s hard work. But with the right plan and SMART goals, you can do this! I know you can!
Happy New Year, my fierce friend. I can’t wait to see what we’re going to accomplish this year!