New Year’s Resolutions – Easy when SMART
The year is coming to an end, so excitement, great expectations and enthusiasm are coming alongside. New year’s resolutions bring new hopes. Even the most stubborn fatalists happen to get more positive as the New Year is approaching.
There is some of a metaphorical edge to this: a year is reaching its grande finale and some affairs are left behind. Something starts as something fades away.
Right from the Christmas time (and its turmoil), we fall into another fuss. There are few clear indications that New Year is just around the corner: winter sales are conquering the stores, wonder diets are now desperately sought-after, latecomers are looking for the New Year’s Eve parties and – most importantly – we all attempt to outline some New Year’s resolutions.
As the importance of developing a sound 1-year plan of action for self-improvement appeals to vast range of audience, various channels of communication has grasped the subject.
Nevertheless, no matter how diverse would be the array of channels looked into, there is a common goal that almost all of them are advancing: “New Year – new, healthy me.”
The timeless resolution persists as time goes by. Still, there are more of such evergreens. Health.com puts forward Top 10 New Year’s resolutions.
However, as statistically only half of New Year’s resolution crusaders will stick to their goals in June, the authors suggest picking as much as one ambitious aim and pursuing it relentlessly.
If above statistics have not yet put you off, the bad news is that Time magazine (2012) has identified Top 10 Commonly Broken New Year’s Resolutions. And here comes the punch line: those are the very same as the previously mentioned. Namely: losing weight, quitting smoking, learning new skills, eating clean, saving money, spending more time with the closest, travelling more, cutting on stress and volunteer. Aren’t they sound familiar – or at least some of them?
Yet, there is a hope for the most strong-willed. When traditional methods fail, look elsewhere. As New Year’s resolutions are nothing but setting objectives, then let’s get more professional and embrace business-like approach. The set of goals for the coming year constitutes the project. The only person in charge (the executive) is one who has set them and in the future, will eventually benefit from the outcomes. Thus, the project must be effectively managed. That being the case, a SMART system of formulating objectives, often brought to action in project management, comes in handy.
SMART is a five-step approach for setting goals – and only such, that are to be reached. Thus, SMART is a form of guidance for the executive in the process of devising 1-year long project. Although, things here got serious for a moment, the main advantage of the system is its accessibility.
Essentially, there is 5-word formula to be memorized: [is my goal?] specific – measurable – achievable – relevant – time-based.
When settling on a bunch of ambitious New Year’s resolutions, it is time to ask yourself a set of questions and verify whether all five criteria are met.
Specify: What exactly do I want to achieve? Why is it so important? Where? How? When? Are there any limitations?
Measurable: How the progress is measured? How will I know when it is accomplished? What is the physical evidence of the progress made?
Achievable: How much does it cost (in terms of effort, time, money, etc)? Can I afford it? Is the objective realistic and down-to-earth? Remember: No one has ever built a billion dollar business overnight.
Relevant: Is it really what you want? Or the pressure comes from the outside? Will it make you more satisfied? Is it your dream or others’?
Time-based: Start with a good planning. Time is money! Having outlined preliminary plan, installed deadlines and time limits, the progress of the project will be transparent. Simply, the goal-setting processes enjoy being time-framed.
Such systematic and integrated approach reduces risks involved with launching a project (meaning: the executive’s failure to stick to the resolutions set.) On the one hand, it may appear as time-consuming. And tedious. However, as long as you’re motivated and determined, SMART will provide you with tools for keeping the project in check.
And remember; keep in mind that New Year’s resolutions are a bit like babies – difficult to maintain.