The process of reflecting is essential if we wish to move onward with confidence and the wisdom we’ve acquired. Be it reflecting on past successes that we wish to replicate, or failures that provide us with an opportunity to learn and grow, we must first look at these things and understand the reasons as to why they were a success or a failure.
Despite the cliché of making “new year’s resolutions,” I do believe there is value in this exercise as it requires us to think about what we want. Do we want a healthier lifestyle? Do we want to read more books? Do we want to attend more fitness classes, travel to different places or volunteer locally? Whatever you wish to do, I encourage you to take some time to truly think about what you want and which changes you wish to make. I ask you to think resolutions you’ve made in the past, and ask yourself, “did I achieve these things? Were they attainable goals? Did I follow through with my plans?
If you answered no to any of these things, then perhaps it is time to create a list of things that are realistic, possible and within reach. Of course, we all want to make more money, travel the globe, do more yoga, lose a few pounds and do this with ease. However, if we set resolutions that aren’t feasible, how can we expect to achieve these things, and more so, how disappointed will we feel when we cannot meet our expectations?
The acronym I use for goal setting is SMART.
T- time bound
For each category of these SMART goals, we must break our “big picture, long term” vision down and create a list resolution that we can achieve. I used this exercise to create my 2017 New Year’s resolutions and came up with a list that was very different than past years.
My original list that was only composed of five changes looked something like this:
1. Eat Healthy.
3. Frequently practice mindful meditation.
4. Grow my business to generate more income.
5. Spend quality time with the people I love most.
Broad and vague, right? Using Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound goals, I altered that list and made a list that was more realistic, possible and within reach.
1. Eat Healthy = Creating a list of healthy foods and then incorporating them into a schedule that will allow me to select the foods I want to eat, and meal preparation time.
2. Hydrate =Buying a water bottle and keeping track of how many bottles of water I drink per day, making sure I have a glass of water at each meal and finishing three additional bottles throughout the day.
3. Frequently practice mindful meditation =Looking at Yoga classes for days off, and using my schedule each day to give myself 20 minutes to meditate (be it reading, listening to a podcast or listening to a guided meditation online).
4. Grow my business to generate more income =Reading books and understanding target audiences and specific niches that I can utilize to market my business. Also connecting with the audience through social media and website maintenance which will require no more than 20 minutes per day.
5. Spend quality time with the people I love most =Creating a schedule and specific dates to make time for coffee or lunch dates. Setting constant reminders on my technology to set these events, and follow through with plans to keep in touch and share quality time with friends and family.
By using the SMART goal setting, it was fairly simple to narrow down my long-term goals and changes I’m keen on making, and create a new list of five things that are indeed was more realistic, possible and within reach. So if you’ve made la ist of resolutions for 2017, take a minute to ask yourself, is this list Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound?
Each goal should be something you’re passionate about changing or incorporating into your life, and thus, your outcome will be far greater. Having a schedule that incorporates all that you wish to achieve will ensure that you will begin to make changes, so mindful in creating the list, and don’t sell yourself short. Even if you fail at achieving some of the ideas on your list, the more you can narrow down your greater goals, the better chance you will have at creating a sustainable list that doesn’t become just another New Year’s Resolutions list.