New Year’s decisions

The first of the year rings in another opportunity to set a New Year’s resolution. For many, sticking to a resolution can be a breeze in the beginning, but as the year progresses, it becomes harder and harder to stay committed.

Usually, there are three reasons why our resolutions fail:

  1. We make unrealistic resolutions
  2. We don’t equip ourselves with the mental ammunition to fight off doubt and continue with our goals
  3. We use guilt or fear as motivation, or resolve to stop doing something.

Consequently, many people just laugh at the thought of making New Year’s resolutions because they do not believe or see themselves making it happen. Although, we often blame ourselves when our resolutions fail, often it’s the nature of the goals themselves that sets us up for failure

The word “resolution”, as defined in dictionary means a firm decision to do or not do something, but life rarely works like that.Maybe, instead of thinking about another New Year’s Resolution you can decide to put together some well-defined goals and make plans that will help you achieve them.

Setting goals give us long-term vision and short-term motivation. It focuses our acquisition of knowledge, and helps us to organize our time and our resources.It also raises our self-confidence, as we recognize our own ability and competence in achieving them.

In order to do it well, it is important that you goals meet S.M.A.R.T criteria.S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for the 5 steps of specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based goals and is one of the most effective tools used by high achievers.

Specific – The goal you set should be as straightforward as possible. It is good to ask yourself six “W” questions:

  • What:     What do I want to accomplish?
  • Where:    Identify a location.
  • When:     Establish a time frame.
  • Which:    Identify requirements and constraints.
  • Why:      Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
  • Who:      Who is involved?

Measurable -Once you have a specific target, you need a way to measure your progress as you move toward achieving your goal, so it is important to choose a goal that is quantifiable and that you keep a journal of your progress. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal. Chronicling your emotional reactions to the positive changes you make enhances your self-esteem and self-awareness along the wayTo determine if your goal is measurable, ask yourself: “How will I know when it is accomplished?”

Attainable– When we identify goals that are most important to us, we begin to figure out ways we can make them come true. We develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. We begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring ourselves closer to the achievement of our goals.

You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them.

Realistic- To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high our goal should be. But you have to be sure that every goal represents substantial progress.

A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were a labor of love.

Timely – You have to make sure to set a timetable for your goal, and for each step that will take you there. Timeliness adds urgency and reinforces accountability. The timetable as well has to be realistic, measurable, and attainable.

T can also stand for Tangible – A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing.

When you defined well your goals, in order to make your plans succeed there is always good to “have a little help from your friends”. It is easier to accomplish goals if you have outside support and encouragement.So, ask a friend or a trusted family member to be an ally you can discuss your progress with. Find someone who will be on your side, giving you a push when you need it.

Also, be aware that it takes time to transform habits and emotional reactions. Genuine and lasting change does not come easily and overnight. It happens one day at time, with a series of sustained, practical actions. What’s great, you don’t have to wait for a New Year to create a road map to your success. Do it today, and be proud tomorrow!