One more year is almost in the rearview mirror and the countdown to the new year is on.
Can you believe it If you’re like me, you might already be thinking about new opportunities and new goals for the New Year.
If you roll your eyes at the idea of “New Year’s Resolutions,” let me just state the obvious: There is nothing important about January 1 when it comes to goals. There is nothing magical about New Year’s resolutions.
In fact, research has found that only about 45% of people even make resolutions. (And 35% of those who do leave them by the end of January.)
So, are they still worth it? While resolutions might not be the most successful, there are a lot of benefits to setting goals. Goals can help you become what you want to be, provide stability, and motivate you.
January 1 gives you a good place to start. The calendar moves to another year and this is often seen as a fresh start.
But how do you start the new year well?
1) Think back to the previous year.
Healthy things grow. Healthy people are no different, but in order to grow we need to see where we are. Start by looking back on the previous year and ask yourself: what went well last year? ; What have I accomplished? ; What goals have I given up? Why?; What obstacles have I overcome? ; How has my life improved? ; What would I have liked to have spent more time doing?
2) Ask yourself, “What do I want to improve and why? “
You have the best chance of achieving the goals you set for yourself. Be careful not to set your goals based on what another person says or our culture.
Your goals are about your health, finances, career, relationships, or whatever you choose. No matter how good a goal is, the success rate is diminished if it is set for the wrong reasons.
Note: There is also no magic number of goals. Maybe you just need to start with one and focus on it until you hit it.
Have you ever heard of a SMART goal? SMART is an acronym coined in the Management Review Journal in 1981. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
It’s a business model for setting goals, but it translates well in other types. Here’s a brief explanation of a SMART goal:
• Specific: your resolution must be absolutely clear. Instead of “I want to be in better shape,” say, “I want to run a 5 km in three months. “
• Measurable: You need a way to measure your progress. Depending on your goal, you may need to search, but look for a tool to measure your progress. Pick a method you will stick with.
• Achievable: If it is not achievable, you will probably give up too soon. Don’t try to jump too big, too fast. If there is one big and noble goal that you want to achieve in the future, great.
Break it down into smaller goals and own them. It’s a lot less intimidating to say you want to lose five pounds in two months than to say you want to lose 50 pounds.
• Relevant: does the goal matter to you? Is it something you want, not someone else?
• Time bound: every goal needs a timeline. The timeline must be realistic. Set a target completion date and set benchmarks along the way.
4) Build a support system.
Reaching your goals is much easier when you surround yourself with supportive people. Come alongside your friends or family, and all agree to share your goals and support each other.
Responsibility will inspire you to persevere. If you need to, find an online group with similar goals and travel together.
It sounds simple, but there is power in writing your goals down, maybe in your planner or on a sticky note somewhere prominent. Make sure they are in a highly visible place so that you can read them over and over again. And you can tick off that goal once you’ve achieved it.
Go ahead and set yourself these goals for the New Year. But take the time to make a plan.
As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. “