The art of New Year’s resolutioning is not for the faint of heart.
Cavett Robert said, “Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed.” Benjamin Franklin added, “How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults or resolution enough to mend them.”
Is a resolution begging for your attention? You must be honest enough to examine your habits; specific enough to articulate a resolution as a goal; and committed enough to create a plan and follow through with action. By knowing what you want to achieve, you can strategize how to focus your efforts.
Commit to your resolution in writing. Lee Iacocca, former Chrysler CEO, explained, “The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.” Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, insisted that the act of writing goals puts things into motion.
“Your mind accepts the challenge and will consciously and unconsciously work to achieve the goal,” added Covey. “The momentum picks up if you tell someone your goal. The act of stating your goal creates a sense of accountability for its completion.”
A SMART goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
Write a SMART resolution. A SMART goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. The act of creating a SMART resolution packs your desire with power and launches your progress towards success. Consider these questions as you construct a SMART New Year’s resolution:
- Specific – What do I want to accomplish? Why do I want to accomplish it? What are the benefits? Who is involved? Where will I try to accomplish it?
- Measurable – How much is needed? How much will it cost? How will I know when it is accomplished? What tools will I use to measure progress? What targets will I aim for as I move towards my resolution?
- Attainable – What knowledge and skills do I have to reach this goal? What knowledge and skills do I need? What is my plan to reach this goal?
- Realistic – Is this goal important to me? Do I have the time to work towards this goal? Do I have other responsibilities? How can I make time to pursue this goal?
- Time-bound – When will I begin to work towards my goal? What are my target dates? When is my completion date? How often will I work on pursuing my goal?
Is there a time frame for you to reach your goal? What will you do within the next six months to reach your goal? Within the next six weeks? Today?
Here are additional tips to consider as you compose a spectacular New Year’s resolution:
- State your resolution as a positive statement. Express your goals with positive words. For example, rather than stating, “Don’t be afraid to create YouTube videos,” say “I confidently create YouTube videos once every two weeks.”
- Be precise. Set specific goals; include dates, times, and measurable amounts so you can track your progress. Rather than stating, “Write my book,” say, “I commit to a daily writing practice of 15 minutes every day, 8:00 – 8:15 p.m.”
- Set objective performance resolutions. As you write goals, use action verbs that can be observed and measured as opposed to abstract and subjective goals. Rather than stating “Get healthy,” say, “I walk one mile every morning five days every week.”
- Set priorities. Prioritizing tasks protects you from feeling overwhelmed and anxious by focusing your attention on important choices and activities that are directly connected to your goals. Clarify your priorities so you can make the best use of your time.
- Arrange time in your schedule to take action. Find creative ways to fit specific tasks aligned with your resolution into your schedule. Time management takes work and effort. Consider how much time you have within a 24-hour period that can be devoted to tasks that will help you meet your goals.
I offer more specific tips and guidance to transform your resolution into a powerful plan of action in my goal-setting book, Dreams to Action Trailblazer’s Guide.
Those who clearly define their New Year’s resolutions are 10 times more likely to reach their goals than those who create vague statements. Although about 75% of those who commit to a New Year’s goal continue to experience success by January 7th, only 46% remain committed to their goal six months later (Journal of Clinical Psychology, December, 2013).
Mike Dooley, author of Notes from the Universe, believes thoughts become things. “It’s not that most people don’t have much and just want a little,” he explains. “It’s that they have it all and just want a little.” Dooley encourages you to realign with the positive energy in and around you as you think about pursuing your goals. A positive growth mindset is essential if you want to reach your goals.
You become the person you want to be by being the person you want to become. Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, maintained, “What the mind of man can conceive, it can achieve.”
Make a commitment to yourself and to your resolution. Make this year your year to celebrate your success.
What accomplishment do you most want to celebrate at the end of this year?
Do you have a dream for the new year? Use these tips from What’s Your Dream to transform your vision into a plan of action.
Transform your resolutions into personal goals with these tips from How to Write SMART Personal Goals.
Do you want to get clear about your direction? Find helpful tips to Write a Personal Purpose Statement.
Tune into your inner voice that’s speaking to you. Discover 7 Ways to Recognize Your Calling.