Stop With Your “Dumb” New Years Resolutions Already!

[quote]Q: Chris… love the site! All of my friends seem to be making all of these New Year’s Resolutions, but I know they’re not going to keep most of them. It makes me not even want to set any myself, but I know I need to do something! I make the same ones every year. Any advice?[/quote]

Julie Ann, I feel the same way you do! I see all of these people making the same generic New Year’s resolutions every year. I even hear the same ones from the same people over and over. I wanna scream “What about last year’s goals?  How’d those go for ya!”

Now, I will say it’s very healthy to have a “reset” point where you sit down, look at your life, and try to make some real positive changes, and if the New Year is what gets you to do this, then great. However, instead of making the same goals year after year, only to see them fail once again, why not follow an easy process to make one or two real, lasting changes this time? Why not make “SMART” Resolutions!

Years ago in my executive training, I learned how to lead people to attaining the goals by using the acronym “SMART.” SMART stands for S=specific M=measurable, A=attainable, R=realistic and T=timely. I know it may seem obvious, but let me break it down for you a bit.

First, be Specific! This is not like saying “Gee, this year I’m going to lose weight.” Instead it’s getting as granular as saying “I need to lose 30 pounds by summer, because this is where my weight was when I felt sexier.” Or perhaps it’s saying “I’m going to add $10,000 to my emergency savings account by year’s end.”

Now, you can’t attain what you can’t Measure! Thus, make your goal measurable! This doesn’t mean “I can measure 30 pounds with the scale, so that’s my goal.” It means measure it out. If 30 pounds is your goal by summer, then measure it out monthly. If you feel summer starts roughly June 1st, then you know you have five months, or measured out, you have to lose six pounds per month. Going even further, you know that’s about 1.5 lbs a week. Very attainable! This way you won’t eat chocolate chip muffins for breakfast all the way thru May, and then freak out because your muffin-tops are bigger than ever with a month to go!

Attainable and Realistic are next. Stop setting stupid pie-in-the-sky goals. “I’m going to be a millionaire this year.” Or “I’m finally losing these last pesky 300 pounds!” While it’s great to have a larger, long-term goal, you must make sure it’s attainable and realistic for the timeline you set, or you will quit with discouragement! So, you’re not going to pay off your ten-thousand dollar Jimmy Choo shoe debt by next month, but perhaps you can by fall. Have no idea how much money you can set aside? Or how much weight you can lose a month? Then ask for help with your goals. Seek help from a friend or expert who’s been through a similar feat before.

Finally, make them Timely! Set a timeframe for the goal. 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, and 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. Lastly, make sure his timeframe has several stop along the way: “By next week, in three months, by years end.” Having these timely checkpoints will keep you on pace and leave no room for surprises at the end.

So, if you’re sick of hearing people claim these dumb and irrational goals this time every year, make this the year that you do something different…actually make a change once and for all. Make some “SMART” New Year’s Resolutions this time, and you’ll be rich and skinny in no time!

Good luck!