Every January we get a fresh start to the year, which for most people means making resolutions that will be long gone by spring. Resolutions like losing weight, helping others, or spending more time with family. Don’t get me wrong, these are all great resolutions for a happier, healthier you, but I’ve been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt.
I believe the reason why resolutions just don’t work is simply the general nature of them. Sure, we all want to be in better shape or be better people, but these willy-nilly resolutions aren’t strong enough for us to continue fighting, yet every year we make these blanket resolutions and fail. There must be a better way.
A few years ago, I gave up on making resolutions. They don’t work, and when I fail I feel worse than I did before the resolutions started. Now, instead of making resolutions, I make goals. There is a commonly used acronym for setting goals S.M.A.R. T.
S – Specific: Be specific about your goal.
M – Measurable: Make it measurable to check your accomplishment.
A – Attainable: Establish actions to take to make you goal a reality.
R – Realistic: When you reach your goal what kind of reward will you feel/receive?
T – Time sensitive: Set a timeframe to complete your goal.
Whether your goals are career, financial, education, family, health, or attitude oriented S.M.A.R. T will help you to accomplish your goals. Here are the same resolutions I mentioned above compared to their SMART goals.
Resolution: I want to lose weight this year.
Goal: I will lose 10 pounds by my vacation in April so I feel great at the beach.
Resolution: I want to help others this year.
Goal: I will teach at least one person a week something to help them complete their job more effectively.
Resolution: I want to spend more time with family this year.
Goal: I will make time three days a week to cook dinner so we can all eat together, and host family game night every month.
As you can see these example goals are stronger than the resolutions. The goals feel more significant because they are positive and action oriented. By establishing more specific goals you’ll know when you have achieved them or (on the flip side) how much longer you have until you accomplish them. Don’t be afraid of writing your goals down and sharing them with others. By doing this you give the goals more power and establish a support team.
In taking my own advice, here is one of my goals for 2014.
Lisa’s Career Goal: I will complete the editing on my first book by March 31st, so that I may begin submitting my book to publishers and agents April 1st with an executed
contract by November 30th.
It’s that time of year; the leaves have fallen, the crisp winds have picked up, and family is on everyone’s mind. If you are anything like me, you’re headed into the end of the year with a full calendar and an even fuller to-do list before the holidays hit. This is the time of year I look back at where I’ve been and how I got to this point.
Every year I set goals for myself. Some years I’m more successful than others at completing my goals, but that’s just the way it goes. Having my goals helps to keep me on track. Although, I made several personal and professional goals, my top priority was to complete my book.
I invested a lot of time in my writing this year. All together I attended six conferences, participated in nine writing courses, read countless writing related books, frequented three writing groups, contributed to a few newsletters, took part in two critique groups, completed a 90 day writer’s challenge, and entered a contest (No, I didn’t win, but I got great feedback.).
Looking back, I’m not really sure how I pulled it all off, plus a full time job, family, and writing until all hours of the night. This year was a tough one, but I got through it with the love and support of my family and friends. I am so grateful to have them in my life. They push me to be better, they cheer me on, and they’re always good for a laugh.
I am very proud to say, although it’s not complete today, I am confident I will be able to finish my last chapter before the New Year arrives. I am so grateful to all of you for supporting me in my dream, and I look forward to what 2014 will bring.
Lisa Heartman writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels.