Don’t you just love a brand new year?! I do because it’s like a sort of fresh start and this usually means making New Year’s Resolutions. What are your New Year Resolutions? Or better yet, what are your goals and objectives for the new year?
I used to make resolutions but guess what? I never stuck with them so I stopped making them. Unfortunately, this is the case for most people. The good intentions are there but most people will break their resolutions by the end of January. This is why you see the health clubs packed with people in January resolving to lose weight but then come February, most are nowhere to be seen.
So, instead of making new year’s resolutions, I recommend that you do away with that and instead write goals and objectives instead. As you know, one of the most important steps to achieving your goals is to actually put them in writing. Without writing your goals down and putting together a plan to achieve them, they can remain intentions and ideals that are never realized.
What’s equally important is making sure that your goals meet the SMART criteria to be the most effective.
If you haven’t written down your goals and objectives yet this year, there is no time like the present to get this done and below is the SMART criteria to help you develop them. And if already have, Good for you!, take a review and make sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
Here’s the SMART criteria…
For best results, your goals should be straightforward and emphasize what you want to accomplish so you want to ensure that your goals are very clear and specific. Specifics help you focus your efforts and clearly define what you are going to do.
Specific is the What, Why, and How of the SMART model.
- WHAT are you going to do? Use action words to describe.
- WHY is this important to do at this time? What do you want to ultimately accomplish?
- HOW are you going to do it?
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Choose a goal with measurable progress, so you can see the change occur. How will you know you reached your goals? Be specific! “I will lose 30 pounds by June 1st” shows the specific target to be measured. “I want to lose weight” is not as measurable.
Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and gain momentum, motivation and satisfaction that comes with that achievement that will spur you on to the continued effort required.
When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. Goals you set which are too far out of your reach, you probably won’t commit to doing. Although you may start with the best of intentions, the knowledge that it’s too much for you means your subconscious will keep reminding you of this fact and will stop you before you even really get started.
A goal needs to stretch you slightly but you must also feel you can do it and it will need a real commitment from you. For instance, if you aim to lose 20lbs in one week, we all know that isn’t achievable. But setting a goal to lose 1 or 2 pounds a week will keep it achievable for you.
Devise a plan or a way of getting there which makes the goal realistic. The goal needs to be realistic for you and where you are at the moment. Be sure to set goals that you can attain with some effort! Too difficult and you set the stage for failure, but too low sends the message that you aren’t very capable.
Set a time frame for the goal: for next week, in three months, year-end, etc. Putting an end point on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards.
If you don’t set a time, the commitment is too vague. It tends not to happen because you feel you can start at any time. Without a time limit, there’s no urgency to start taking action now.
There you have it. I hope this was helpful in ensuring that you’re goals are written in a way that will be most effective.
Now, get to work on achieving those goals and remember to “Eat that elephant one bite at a time” and keep revisiting, documenting your progress (don’t forget to pat yourself on the back every now and then too – Very Important!!) and even tweaking if need be along the way. Inch-by-inch, day-by-day, you can do ANYTHING!!!
Wishing you a Very Happy and Prosperous 2011 and beyond.