As 2018 has drawn to a close and we are ushering in 2019, I feel compelled to write a few words about New Year resolutions. Most of us set resolutions with good intentions to achieve goals that we believe will enhance our life, improve our health, and/or benefit us or others in some way. I have done so, as well, and generally take stock mid-year to see how I am doing in terms of moving towards my goals and again at year end to see how I actually did.
While I believe goal setting is a good thing, I am feeling that it can inadvertently backfire on us if we have not achieved what we had set out to do. Many of us are hard on ourselves and when we don’t attain our goals, we might feel that we have failed. This sets us up for ongoing self-reproach, guilt, let-down and disappointment.
Sitting at a crossroads now I am pondering where to go from here. I am a goal-oriented person and have done well thus far with this approach in my life. Generally, I achieve my goals especially those that are solely within my control. When my goals include others, then I am less in control and the outcome may not always be favorable.
So, I am considering the following principles going forward that I hope will help in the quest for self-improvement and growth:
- Set SMART goals. These are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound.
- Set goals that are within YOUR control and do not rely on others to achieve them.
- Set goals for which you are emotionally committed. Emotional commitment provides motivation and perseverance.
- Track your progress vis-a-vis your goals on a regular basis (e.g., monthly, quarterly) to ensure you are on track but don’t become obsessed and have them take over your life.
- Break down a goal into smaller chunks of sub-goals. Create a ‘roadmap’ of smaller sub-tasks that will enable the achievement of the end goal.
- Set only a few (SMART) goals. It’s better to attain a few goals than fail at several goals.
In the end, the most important goal is to be HAPPY. Choose wisely. Be kind to yourself and to others.
Have a great year!