I think New Year’s resolutions get a bad wrap. I’ve heard a lot of folks say they feel that making a resolution is just a waste of time, but I just see this as another opportunity to make and set goals.
I don’t think you can flip a switch on December 31st and suddenly become a brand new person, but I do think you can give yourself a solid trajectory for the next 366 days. When you sit down to write your resolutions this week, think through these tips to make sure you are checking them off as a success around this time next year.
Be realistic. The freshly-minted year brings out all kinds of “new year, new me” feelings. But don’t get wrapped up in the hype and set yourself up for failure. Think about what is really doable over the course of the next 12 months. If you never run a step in your life, saying you’d like to run a marathon in 2012 is probably far-fetched. It might be better to set your goal as running a half marathon. There is nothing wrong with being real with your goals.
Be specific and measurable. I think the recipe for New Year’s resolution failure is a vague goal plus immeasurable results. If you write down, “go to the gym more” how are you supposed to gauge your success or failure? You need to give numbers, amounts, and goal posts. One of my goals for next year is to hit 7500 fitness minutes. It’s essentially the same idea as “go to the gym more” but with a specific, measurable finish line. What will your specific goal be?
Write them down. Goals that aren’t written down are just wishes. Honestly, I don’t think I kept a single resolution until I posted them on my blog for the whole world to see in 2011, and I managed to succeed at eight of my 11 goals this year! Post them in your office, hang them in the bathroom, and showcase them on your rear-view mirror. I don’t care where they are, but make sure they are written down and visible all year long.
Be timely. Some of your goals will probably have a deadline of December 31, 2012, but for those that don’t, give yourself a specific date or event to focus on. Let’s take that half marathon example from above. Find a race and write that in your goal. Having “run the 500 Festival Mini Marathon on May 5, 2012” is much more powerful than just “run a half marathon.” If you are feeling particularly dedicated, go ahead and register for the race!
Schedule progress reports. Right now, go ahead and schedule a progress report for each of your goals. I like to do mine quarterly. I literally put it on my calendar so I don’t forget about it. Take that time to assess your progress on your goals and adjust any goals that need to be adjusted. Priorities change and your goals might need to as well, that’s fine.
So, now the big question!
What’s your New Year’s resolution?
12/29/2011 at 11:10 AM