SMART Goal Setting for the New Year
This last week of the year between Christmas and New Year’s is one of my most favorite times of the year. I don’t think I am alone; it is a time for reflection and a time for renewal. Everyone loves the idea of a fresh start and a new beginning. The calendar brings us many opportunities for fresh starts such as the 1st of the month and the proverbial “Monday”, but there is just none like the 1st of a brand new year!
This time is used by many to reflect on the past year, goal setting and of course making the ever so important New Year resolutions. Many snicker when they see those around making new resolutions and goals, but the fact is that goal setting has been proven to affect the outcome of your life. Years ago, Harvard University did a study on goal-setting. They took the graduating class of 1953 and asked them to set some goals for their careers, only 3% chose to do so. They discovered that twenty years after graduation, the 3% of that class who wrote down their career goals had a higher net worth than the 97% who did not write down goals. In fact, it is said that those who openly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to achieve their goals, so why do people scoff? It may be that for many it is easier to remember failure than success and many quit after one failure. It is said that 20% of the resolutions made are broken in the first week and by the end of the year 80% have been broken.
What can we do to help increase our chances for success? To give ourselves a better chance at achieving goals, we should break our goals into smaller steps with rewards for accomplishments and most importantly don’t give up when we fail once. It is not a race; take several small steps that will get you to where you want to go. There is a known acronym for helping to set goals – make them S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time centered).
Lastly, find an accountability partner and help each other out, chances for success increase by 50% when we partner up for accountability. Consider any “setbacks” as minor and avoid the “all or none” mentality. Achieve what you can and don’t give up on everything over a few failures; after all there are 52 “Mondays” and 11 other “1st of the month’s” in a year to help us with another fresh start on our goal setting.