New Year's Resolution or a Goal? Get SMART to Achieve Results.

I find the talk about New Year's resolutions to be .. well, funny.  Wikipedia defines a New Year's resolution as:

"... a commitment that an individual makes to a project or the reforming of a habit, often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted as advantageous. The name comes from the fact that these commitments normally go into effect on New Year's Day and remain until fulfilled or abandoned." 

Setting goals is a good thing, but a New Year's resolutions often amount to little more than a wish. Calling a goal a New Year's resolution seems to indicate a lack of commitment. Would you like to turn your 'wish' into a reality? If you want to set goals for 2010, consider making them SMART goals. What does that mean? SMART goals are:

S = Specific

M = Measurable

A = Attainable

R = Realistic

T = Time based

Let me give a brief explation of each of these concepts.

: Your goal needs to be specific. Define it clearly and in a way that you can focus on the desired outcome. Know why it is important.

Measurable: You need to be able to measure your progress. For example, how much weight do you want to loose, and how much do you want to loose each week? Measuring your progress assures you are progressing. It also allows you to make changes if you are not on track.

Attainable: Set goals that are attainable. Yes, you should set goals that stretch you, but if you set goals that our out of reach, you are not likely to commit. As you measure your progress and work toward attainable goals, your commitment will grow and you will ultimately achieve your goal!

Realistic: Is your goal realistic? IS it do-able? A simple test for this is to write a plan to achieve your goal. Are the skills and tools available? Set a realistic goal. As an example, it is not realistic to loose 5 lbs a week .. 2 to 3 is realistic!

Time based:  Set a time frame for your goal! When will you acomplish your goal? Break it down in to smaller pieces with a measurable result and time table for each. Having a timetable can build a sense of urgency. A constraint on time helps keep focus!

I have found that I have the greatest success at achieving goals when I review them frequently. Read them to yourself (out loud if possible) daily, or at least weekly. Perhaps you can write them out as well. Tell a friend about your new goal. Choose someone that will help you be accountable, not someone that will make light of your effort. Use visualization techniques. Most importantly, make it a priority and stay focused.

There is much more on this topic, but I will save that for another day. You can find additional information elsewhere on the internet or you can contact me if you have specific questions I can answer.

Take some time now to create a few SMART goals for 2010. I know I will be updating my goals for 2010!