Around this time of year, many people start thinking about things they want to change about themselves or their lives in the new year. “New Year’s Resolutions”. Grand ideas about losing weight, eating healthier, organizing the house…
Far too often these well-intentioned plans end up in the trash after just a few weeks. I’d like to suggest a smaller but more manageable approach. Don’t make resolutions, set goals. And don’t just set goals, set SMART goals. Another way to think of smart goals is SPAM – make goals that are Specific, Practical, Applicable, and Measurable.
Start small: if your goal is to have an organized house, pick one room and decide that for one month, you will focus on working on that one room. Making goals that have a shorter time frame, like a month, help us not get discouraged when we need to revise them. After all, you have 11 more chances to redo a month-long goal than you do a yearly goal. (If one of your goals is to “get organized”, contact me. Together we can work out a SMART plan to make that happen.)
And finally, keep track of your progress. Make a note in your calendar to check back in after a couple weeks or a month and see how things are going. When you accomplish a SMART goal, celebrate! Make a poster of congratulations for yourself, or write it down in a journal, so you can look back later and remember your success.
Goals are good for us. They keep us focused in a world that is bent on distracting us every moment. They help us look back on what we’ve accomplished during a year, and feel a sense of accomplishment. And they help keep us moving towards who we want to be and what we want to accomplish.