Updated: Jan 19
As January inches toward the end of the month, Many of us began the New Year by making resolutions based upon reflections from the past year. Traditionally we make resolutions tied to bad habits that we want to break, and changes we want to make in our lives. During this time of year, those lists that we made with the best of intentions usually fall back into the category of "wish I could's" as opposed to resolutions that will change our lives for the better in the coming months. The problem with "resolutions" is they tend to be too general and too vague for most of us to maintain a high level of commitment to keeping them. Breaking them Down into SMART Goals, instead of Resolutions can make 2022 the year we break those bad habits and change those negative patterns.
My list usually includes: lose weight, eat better, stick to an exercise routine, stay more organized and talk to mom at least once per day. Over the last couple of years, I have started to set SMART Goals for myself instead of resolutions. SMART Goals are much more concrete. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Tangible. According to Thoughtco.com Smart Goals were invented by Management Expert Peter Drucker in 1954 in order to improve the performance of management trainees in his classes. I can use these goals in my own life to create a specific objective for my goal. For example: I might say my goal for 2022 is to improve my relationship with my mother. This is a very broad and generalized goal but it is also a very personal goal. To achieve this goal I first need to ask myself what will a "better relationship" with my mother look like? Will it include spending more time together, prioritizing talking to her daily on the phone or being more open about my feelings and working on "trust issues?" Do I want to incorporate this list of ideas as my objectives for reaching my goals? Is this "goal" realistic and doable? Does my mom also want to improve our relationship? This goal is not solely dependent on me alone, It will require some cooperation from my mother and I need to keep my expectations reasonable and realize that I can only control my own effort. I don't have any control over whether my mother will actually pick up the phone or whether she feels any desire to have a closer relationship with me.
To make my goal more Specific, I could say " during the coming year, I want to improve communication with my mother. " Now I have a specific objective for my goal and something that I can control.
I can make this goal measurable by applying the SMART Goal technique.
"S" stands for "Specific." For example: I can say "During the coming year, I want to improve communication with my mother. "
'M" stands for Measurable: "Over the next three months, I will call my mother daily. " This gives me a clear time frame to measure my progress.
"A" stands for attainable: calling my mother is something that I can reasonably do on a daily basis.
"R" stands for realistic: Talking to my mother is an achievable goal. My mom is usually home in the evening and early mornings. It is easy to get ahold of her in the early morning and evenings.
"T" stands for tangible: Talking with my mom is a tangible goal. I can see daily progress and simply by reaching out I am improving my communication and we are becoming more involved in each other's lives.
SMART Goals can be applied to any resolution and provides a roadmap for success and an easy way to measure your progress. This simple method can turn even the steepest mountain into a measurable molehill and will increase your self confidence along the way. Remember, we are striving "for progress not perfection."