Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Years! What are YOUR Plans?

That picture is my dear hubby from last night at our New Years Party! No - don't get excited - we don't have a kid :P That's one of my "nephews" (ie, heart-adopted).

So its the New Year and everyone's making resolutions. Ironically, I'm usually not too big on New Year's resolutions because I'm sooo good at breaking them! This year though, it just happens to coincide with my health greatly improving so I'm making myself goals anyway.

One note about goals: I firmly believe that goals should be a year long process, and something that you frequently sit back and review. Why? Well life changes. I have no way of knowing today what things may happen to rock my world six months from now, or even tomorrow, and neither do you. If you don't give yourself the freedom to revise your goals periodically then you'll find yourself with goals that are now unattainable. Instead, you should set goals now, and plan on reviewing them as often as necessary. Maybe you'll be able to get through the entire year and keep every single one (or even just one!) but more often people tend to find that goals need to be adjusted, or restarted, or scrapped all together for a variety of reasons.

One good way to set goals is to follow the S.M.A.R.T method. I learned this years ago while in management and it's made a big difference in my life. So I'll share it with you!

S = Specific. Don't write down general goals like "lose weight," put down specifics such as "lose 5lbs a month."
M = Measurable. This is one way to make your goals specific. I.e. "Read 20 books this year." "Exercise 3 times a week. This can also include how you are going to keep yourself accountable. "Keep a list of the books I read." "Make an exercise calender."
A = Attainable. It might not be realistic to expect to climb Mt Everest this year (unless your already in condition for it!) but you might be able to take walks around your neighborhood, or plan on going on hikes in your area. And hey, if you plan it out, you might just be able to tackle a big peak before the end of the year! Just make sure you plan to work up to your big goals, don't just jump at them and expect to succeed. Have a plan.
R = Realistic. What's really realistic? I know myself and swearing off chocolate would NOT be realistic. However, promising to eat small portions of desert, and one piece of chocolate at a time (instead of a bag) is something that I can mentally handle.
T = Timely. This portion is one of the reasons I say that is important to revisit your goals. Timely is the concept of putting a time frame on your goals. "I want to lose 15lbs." Well when do you want to lose them by? Eventually? 3 months from now? Setting goals that are time bound also allows you to tackle a bigger goal in smaller chunks. Let's say your goal is to read 24 books this year. You can break that down and say, "Read 2 books a month." Now you know what you need to accomplish now, and not just within the next year.

So what does this look like put together? One of my goals this year is to take a photo a day. I'm calling it my photo 365 challenge. In fact, I started it at Christmas and the photo above is actually Day 8's photo! How does this fit in with SMART?

Specific - What am I doing? Taking a photo a day (minimum).
Measurable - 1 photo, per day. Posted on facebook, and every 30 pictures in a slide show on this blog, so I'm reporting on what I'm doing.
Attainable - if I carry my camera with me and focus on what activities in my life could have photo opportunities, then this is attainable. Hey, I even took a shot of my alarm clock one day when I remembered to take a photo at the last minute! The point is the picture :)

Realistic - I like taking pictures :)
Timely - This is a daily event for me, so it's certainly timely!

I have other goals and I'll post them later to share, but for now, what are some of your goals? Are there ways you can use SMART to improve them?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The only one I can think of that applies to SMART is that I'm going to refrain myself from reading comments on the entertainment news articles I read.

Specific - To not read comments on news articles, specifically entertainment news articles
Measurable - Not sure how to measure it. Maybe that I read zero comments or up to 5?
Attainable - the reason I have this goal/resolution is because I waste a lot of time just reading comments, and get mad over negative ones about my favorite celebrities. It's a habit that I want to break, so I'm hoping it's attainable.
Realistic - I have a habit of reading comments but I think I can still pass over them.
Timely - I always have to check the sites I have bookmarked before going somewhere and after returning from somewhere. So if I just skip past the link to the comments or don't read them when I do read an article, I should be fine.

Kind of a weird goal, I know, but I want to have more time to do homework and such. And part of what wastes my time is reading comments on news articles.

Happy New Year, Ruthie! Can't wait to see your pictures :)