What Are Your Goals?

Signs along a busy road.

What are your goals this new year?

     It’s that time of the year again, and time to start planning your New Year’s Resolution! Oh, what joy. Planning for goals we often never accomplish. In fact, only 8 percent of people actually keep their New Year’s Resolution. But one must ask why this is. Why is it so hard to keep a New Year’s Resolution? It is because most people do not prepare enough for them; they make them on a whim, usually a day or so before New Year’s, and that is problematic. We are creatures of habit, and in order to break our habits we have to resign from them.

     So keep these steps in mind when making your New Year’s Resolution!

Be SMART

     What does this mean? SMART stands for “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Oriented.”

Let’s go over each of these individually.

Specific: The difference between “I’ll quit smoking” and “I’ll cut back from 20 cigarettes a day to 10 cigarettes first, then I will go to 5, then to 0” is the epitome of both “Specific” and “Realistic.” Being specific means that you have no wiggle room to break free from. If your goal is to quit smoking, be specific about it; do not just say: “I’ll quit smoking,” as that is very general.

Measurable: In the case of quitting smoking, you want to be able to measure your results so you can track errors. Again, saying: “I’ll first go down to 10 cigarettes a day, then to 5, then to 0” is a lot easier to track than if you were to simply say: “I will quit smoking.” The psychology behind this is needing results to see progress; otherwise we will more than likely give up.

Attainable: How do you plan to quit smoking? With nicotine patches? Nicotine gum? Be able to justify your goal, as otherwise you will fall short of it. Attainability is simple: choose a method in which you will be capable of accomplishing your New Year’s Resolution, and stick with it! Remember that by the time New Year’s hits, that goal may not seem to easy to obtain!

Realistic: Can you really quit smoking? Are you in a situation where quitting is possible? Are you surrounded by people who smoke that may lead to temptation? If this is the case, your best bet is to figure out a way to avoid being around these people without alienating them from your lives. Realistic means: a goal that is something that can actually be accomplished.

Time-Oriented: This goes along with “10 cigarettes a day, then 5, then 0” because you need to set a time frame for your goals to become accomplished. When will you move from 10 cigarettes to 5? How long will it take? Remember to think about this realistically and in a manner conducive to time itself. Say you will give yourself a month to get to 5, then to 0.

Promise To Yourself

     Knowing yourself – everything from your dreams to behaviors – is important when making a New Year’s Resolution. How reliable are you in your own head? How many times have you made a promise only to fail? This is not meant to deter you; it is meant to motivate you! If you constantly give yourself a goal and never finish, let that be your New Year’s Resolution!

     Most people fail at keeping their New Year’s Resolution, so why not make keeping a New Year’s Resolution as one goal, and something simple as another? In this sense, you are setting small, easy-to-accomplish goals rather than trying to accomplish something you are not ready for. Then, set a resolution where you are to accomplish those simple goals.

     In this sense, you are setting a goal to KEEP a goal, and that will motivate you to keep much easier goals alive and well, while also promoting a sense of high self-esteem. And as you progress through the years, set new goals that are a bit more difficult. In fact, break it up into months. Why keep a New Year’s Resolution when you can do one every month?

Rewrite The Script

     Forget a New Year’s Resolution. Have 3-month resolutions. That way, you can practice for next year. Set small, accomplishable goals every 3 months and put them yourself to the test! Before long, you will realize it is not as hard as you think to accomplish either a small goal or a large one! It is a matter of teaching yourself to trust in your ability to keep a promise.

     Let this be the year where you keep your New Year’s Resolution, of which is simply keeping several small monthly resolutions? This entry has been a bit “all over the place,” but that is just how a New Year’s Resolution should be: sporadic yet realistic. In the end, it led to a good idea, didn’t it? Keep smaller goals each month, and let your New Year’s Resolution be:

     Keep those small goals throughout the year!

Happy holidays to all!

 

Author: Ryan W. McClellan

I am a Life Coach and Motivational Speaker, author of several books, and Key Journalist for LOL News.

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