With New Year right around the corner, if you are really serious about successfully accomplishing your New Year’s Resolutions, use this fool-proof and systematic approach.
- Identify: Select a dream or desire or passion that you REALLY want to achieve. It must be something that you want to accomplish so much that you will definitely spend time working toward completing the goal.
- Be Realistic: rather than making a long list, select no more than 3 items that you want to accomplish over the next year and that you can actually achieve even if you must take educational courses or find creative ways to save money, etc. to align yourself so that you will be able to achieve that goal. If that means you must make this a 2-year goal, then you already have one goal for next New Year!
- Use SMART criteria: Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Attainable, Relevant, Time Sensitive
- Specific: you must be able to answer the 5 Ws: What, Why, Who, Where, and Which
- Measurable: you must be able to measure the success: How Much? How Many? How Long?
- Achievable/Attainable: you must be able to realistically achieve the goal(s) even if that means that you need to revise your attitude, skills, or financial ability to enable you to achieve them.
- Relevant: the goal must be IMPORTANT to you. Is the goal you set for yourself something that you will want to spend time working at to accomplish?
- Time Sensitive: Make appointments with yourself to spend time working toward your goal and also set dates to evaluate your progress:
- Weekly appointments to spend 15 or 30 minutes chipping away at the steps
- End of each month to do a status update
- 3-Month appointment to analyze your progress and if necessary, make revisions to resolve obstacles you encountered and to get back in sync
- 6-Month and 9-month evaluation updates
- Use a Vision Board: find photos, clipart, or other forms of illustration for your ultimate goal of what you want to accomplish. How will your goal look when it has been successfully completed?
- For example: I have a goal to move to Florida this autumn. I started working toward this goal last year by reducing the amount of stuff that I will be moving from my old home to my new home in Florida. I knew that my ultimate goal of actually moving and settling in was too large to accomplish in one year, so I broke the steps down into two years so that I could comfortably complete all the steps.
- In order to successfully complete my goal, I would need to research where I would move in Florida, what I would need to do in order to leave my home in Delaware, how to move from here to there, the best ways to save money while doing this, and a host of other tasks that are important to me.
- I then set up actual tasks with due dates and detailed information about WHY those steps are important so that I remain focused. I use Microsoft Outlook, so in the body of the task reminder, I enter all of the information above. In the title of the task, I also show the date by which I want to complete that item.
- In some cases, I did have to delay the actual due date because of things that happened in my day-to-day life. When I analyzed at 3-months, I revised the due date of that step. I knew that I had built in extra time to complete all of my tasks, so there was no stress in the delay.
- Even today, when trials and tribulations of day-to-day life get me depressed, I take a mental vacation of where my new home will be and get on Google Earth to take a look around the area that I have decided will be my new home.
- Even today, I am right on target with the tasks that I need to complete to successfully move to Florida and I know that from the evaluation process I established.
- Schedule Your Roadmap to Success: break your overall goal down into small steps that will need to be done in order to successfully accomplish your goal and then prioritize those steps. If you need to complete an unexpected task in order to achieve that step of your goal, then that unexpected task becomes a priority. However, keep in mind that TIME is precious. When time is gone, it is gone forever. When you keep that in mind, you will make a point of putting your TIME into good use. Schedule tasks even as small as 10 minute tasks. Remember to assign a date by which you will complete each step.
- Make Technology Your Friend: For example: If your goal is money-related, schedule automatic payments or deposits or install a thermostat that automatically lowers/raises the temperature or set up a savings account and an automatic withdrawal from your normal checking account to your savings account so that you automatically achieve this step of your goal.
- 3 Month Review: Set a task reminder to review the previous 3 months and recap the tasks that you completed and also review the steps that are in process. Doing this keeps things real and in the forefront of your mind. It also keeps you on track to succinctly managing your time.
- Celebrate! Everyone loves to have fun and celebrate. One thing I learned many years
ago is to build rewards into steps that I need to take to accomplish my goals. I have been known to actually complete a task just because I wanted the next reward! I did not do the task for the ultimate goal that I wanted to accomplish but rather because I wanted the reward that I had attached to that particular step!
- One rule for this: NO CHEATING! In some cases you may need to reward the effort even if you did not achieve the success of the step. However, it really needs to be an honest effort that was done
- Attach a variety of rewards to every step that you have set up for yourself to complete as you work toward your ultimate goal. Only when you complete those steps can you have the rewards.
- Acupuncture: Points Newsletter: Making Time Count
- Forbes: 11 Easy Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions