What’s Your New Year’s Resolution?
For the past several years I’ve made the same New Year’s resolution: to try something new every week. I usually succeed for the first few weeks, trying a new food or activity, or taking a different walking route with my dogs. Then, unfortunately, I become part of a discouraging statistic: 97% of New Year’s resolutions are not fulfilled. In fact, 25% of NYE resolutions fail by the first week in January.
To increase your chances of fulfilling your resolutions, go back to goal-setting basics: Set SMART goals:
Specific: If your goal is too vague, how will you know whether you reached it? Specify precisely what behavior you will change. My resolution would be more specific if it were “try a new healthy food” or “take a different walking route” instead of “try something new.” To make your goals more specific, answer the questions: Who (is involved)? What (are you going to do)? Where (will you do it)? And When (will you do it)?
Measurable: You need to be able to quantify your goal. How much/many? How many minutes? How often? How many times per week or month?
Agreed to: You have to have buy-in for your goal. You have to really want to meet your goal, and you may also need your family’s, friends’, and/or colleagues’ buy-in to help you reach it. Talking with people about what your goal is, how you will reach it, and how they can support you may be important.
Realistic: Do you have the ability and commitment to reach your goal? If my goal were to become a finalist on American Idol, I would be sorely disappointed, since I cannot carry a tune in a bucket. Shoot for a goal that you are 90% confident you can achieve. Exceeding your realistic goal is far better than failing to meet an overly ambitious goal.
Timely: Your goal needs to have a deadline. Having an end date creates a sense of urgency and helps to avoid procrastination. To increase your chances of meeting your goal, set a small goal to accomplish within the next month or two. After you’ve met that goal, set another goal for the next few months. Be sure to reward yourself for meeting your goal.
Good luck making and meeting your SMART 2011 resolutions.
Happy New Year!