A resolution in the new year is a personal goal. You can make these at any time, and at the beginning of the year is a great time. If it fits, try making the resolution a SMART goal.
You’ve probably heard of these, but just in case, the SMART acronym usually stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant (or sometime Realistic), and Timely (or Time-bound). Here are each of the terms explained:
- Specific – clearly defined with factors such as who is involved, what it is you want to accomplish, where (locations), why you want to do it, and which constraints or requirements are expected.
- Measurable – identifiable target steps and milestones that allow you to track your progress. Try to understand how much it will take, how many steps are involved, and how you will determine that you’ve accomplished the goal.
- Attainable – realistic and manageable, given your situation and capabilities. Make sure that your resolution is not out of reach.
- Relevant – results that matter to you, and are worthwhile towards meeting your needs.
- Timely or Time-bound – specific period involved for achieving the results, to establish your sense of urgency. You will use better time management as you make progress.
Popular annual goals include improving financial activities (reduce debt, make more money), losing weight, and eliminating bad habits or activities (such as drinking too much, smoking, or being messy). The course bundle mentioned at the end of this article has more on the popular resolutions.
What is really involved in a successful resolution result? You start off with a vision of an attainable result, and your mind starts to think about how to get there.
In most cases you are “changing direction” to get to your result, instead of the path you were on. This change is really a behavior modification. The behavior change leads to different choices and decisions, so your activities line up towards the result you want.
It helps to be prepared to be a changed person… since your new activities and thoughts may give a sense of being in a strange place. Seeding your mind with the idea of knowing you’ve chosen this change in your journey will make it more comfortable.