Setting Goals Not Resolutions is the Key to Success!
The first week of the new year brings both the good……
- Longer days
- A sense of optimism
- A fresh start
…..and the bad:
- Bitter cold (at least if you live in Minnesota)
- A few excess pounds around the middle
- The need to keep your snowblower on standby for 3 more months
….and, If you’re like most, despair over already breaking your resolutions to:
- Lose weight
- Spend less
- Quit (fill in the blank, i.e., gluten, smoking, nagging your spouse,etc…)
That’s why I don’t make resolutions, I set goals, and I think you should, too.
Resolutions usually revolve around what not to do – don’t eat dessert, don’t buy that new pair of shoes, don’t point out your husband left dirty dishes in the sink…. again. Resolutions are very black and white. Either you do it or you don’t. And once you do, for lack of a better phrase, “fall off the wagon,” you figure you’ve blown it anyway, so what the heck, why not have another serving of cake, or buy a jacket to match those shoes? Personally, I can’t tell you how many times “just one scoop” has turned into the whole pint – usually while standing over the kitchen sink.
Goals on the other hand, are about the bigger picture. They’re long term, which allow time for new habits to form. Old thinking (like around the time I was born in the ‘60’s) pointed to 21 days as the length of time it takes to create a new habit. New thinking, pegs it at 66 days. This is encouraging for those of us who think we need to change overnight (or even in 3 weeks.) It’s simply not realistic.
Another reason to choose goals over resolutions is they don’t require self-condemnation for messing up. You fall short? You simply dust yourself off and keep moving forward. Goals are also more formalized (if you’re doing it right, anyway) and involve setting smaller goals that when done systematically, help you to achieve the big picture.
If you’ve studied goal setting at all, you might recognize the following goal-setting criteria touted among business leaders as well as those who study personal development. Experts maintain a goal, must be SMART:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Actionable
R – Relevant
T – Trackable
Here’s an example:
Grow my business
I will acquire 5 new clients during the first three months of the year.
- Specific: I will acquire five new clients for my business.
- Measurable: I will measure my progress by how many new clients I bring on, while maintaining my current client base.
- Actionable: I will ask current clients for referrals, spend 2 hours a day on cold calling, launch a social media marketing campaign, identify list of 100 potential clients and follow up with email campaign using a CRM.
- Relevant: Adding additional clients to my business will allow me to grow my business and increase my revenue.
- Time-Based: I will have five new clients within three months.
See the difference? None of this, by the way, is rocket science. But it DOES take time, perspective and commitment. Today, why not take some time to evaluate and commit to where you want to be 12 months from now. Write it down using the formula above, then be sure to check back often – even daily – SMART steps you need to take to get there. Happy goal-setting!
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