New Year’s resolutions that stick
As we near the end of 2012 our minds start to wander to the new year and what it will bring. It’s a time of year when people start to think about the year they have just had and what changes they’d like to make in the new year.
New Year’s resolutions are big buzz words. You might notice around January there is probably 200% or more ads on TV about weight loss, gyms and gym equipment. This is because the new year is a vulnerable time for people who are unhappy with themselves about going through another year and not changing something (in this example losing weight).
The new year doesn’t have to be a time where you feel shamed or bad about your accomplishments. It is actually a very powerful time and perfect for making goals that you can fulfill in the coming year.
To help you meet this new year’s intentions, it’s important to set make your goals SMART. Make them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
What the SMART system teaches you to do is make a plan to achieving your goal that will actually work. When you make a goal to lose weight it is usually because you feel bad about how you look and would like to change that. But having a goal of losing weight is not a SMART goal. All it focuses on is the outcome and even that is vague.
If you want to lose weight (and this is just an easy example to use, I’m sure you look great!!) this is how you use it through SMART:
Specific I want to lose 5kg in 6 months
Measurable I will weigh and measure myself each week and record my progress
Achievable Is 5kg an achievable goal in 6 months?
Realistic Am I being realistic about this goal? What will I do to make it happen?
Timely Is 6 months a valid time frame to lose 5kg?
What a lot of people do is they say in their minds, “I want to lose 10kg in 3 months.” They also often don’t follow up with the necessary steps to make it happen. So in 3 months, when they weigh themselves and they are the same weight, they say to themselves, “See, I told you I couldn’t lose weight, I’ll always look like this!.”
The problem here is that the plan was doomed for failure from the outset. This can be applied to any sort of goal. You could say, “I’m going to get good grades at school”, but not put in any extra effort for study or test revision. It’s no surprise then when the grades do not come back how you want.
Goals of any type need to be sustainable and structured. You need to be able to work towards them in order to achieve them. You need a structured, thought-out plan that details the steps you need to take to achieve it. Many people fear making concise plans as they are afraid of failing. Failing when you haven’t really tried is better than failing when you really gave it everything you’ve got.
Goals are also more powerful when they come from within. Losing weight is great to be healthy but you can still love and accept yourself as you are right now. If your goal of losing weight is to care for your body and love yourself, it makes it that much easier to stick to.
So when it comes around to New Year’s day, make some SMART goals that can rally improve your life. Forget about previous years and just start afresh for 2013 with some goals that can really stick. Take the risk at succeeding and go for the life of your dreams. You deserve it as much as anyone else.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!