Smart Resolutions

This is the time of year when most of the folks in my circle are diligently adding resolutions to their list… and just as diligently breaking them.

We all do it. Even if we call them goals or aspirations, January just seems to bring out the urge to start again somehow. In a lot of ways, that’s a good thing. Nothing is more certain than the fact that you will almost surely fail to reach the goals that you do not set.

It remains very difficult to hit the mark you aren’t bothering to aim at.

I mean, I’m sure it’s possible to accidentally achieve a goal you haven’t set, but how would you know?

So – you’ve made your resolutions and embarked on fulfilling them.

And then life happens. Something breaks, someone gets sick, work piles up or becomes more stressful, a new baby is born… it’s always something… and it absorbs you to the point that your resolution falls by the wayside, forlorn and forgotten. Or if you’re like me, sometimes you just give up, because your life was already busy and full and sometimes keeping your feet moving and your head above water is all you have the energy for.

So what is to be done? If resolutions or goals (call them what you want, it all amounts to the same thing) are good and helpful, but horrendously hard to keep/reach, should we just stop making them? Or do we keep making them, but beat ourselves up unmercifully when we fail?

I say — Neither.

But instead of setting yourself up for failure with a gigantic change that will inevitably cause you to crash and burn, select a goal that is SMART.

Your goal (or resolution or whatever) needs to be specific enough that you will know without a doubt when you’ve reached it. “Attain success in writing” is basically meaningless unless you know what you want success to look like. Keep your goal simple and sensible, but significant enough to be worthwhile.

Next, you want a goal that is measurable. You can break it down into meaningful parts, and the achievement of each one will likely motivate you to keep working toward the big show.

Make sure your goal is actually achievable. Nothing sets you up to fail like an impossible task. Even Don Quixote would have done better if his goals had been more reasonable.

Make your goals relevant to the things that are most important in your life. Extraneous matter (otherwise known as the tyranny of the urgent) will sneak in no matter what you do. Keep your goals relevant to your life so that they are worth achieving.

Finally, it’s important to have goals that are time-bound. “I want to read twenty books by March 31, 2018” is a lot easier to check off your list than, “I want to read a lot of books.”

No matter what, don’t get discouraged. You can do this, you just have to set yourself up to win.

So, what are your resolutions for 2018? Tell me in the comments. I love hearing from y’all.

Author/Contributor: C.L. Roman


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