Most people are in the habit of making New Year’s Resolutions, year after year… after year. “Promises are made to be broken” and that’s exactly what it is—a promise! A make or break. Will we succeed? Or will we fail? Let me give you some tips on how to keep those promises and how to put a check on each one of them. Read on…
Make SMART Resolutions
Another New Year, another set of resolutions. Resolutions are broken within the first month. It’s a fact, sad to say. Most people, about 80%, stop or lose their chance of reaching their goals, or break their New Year’s Resolutions within the first month of the new year.
The reason is because many people are making resolutions or goals that are just not smart. Some of you might know what a smart goal is, others unfortunately not. So, let’s see what a SMART goal is. SMART is an acronym for being:
- R-ealistic, and
- T-ime bound
I’m going to break down each one of these and compare to resolutions a lot of people are having, including losing weight, quit smoking, make some more money, trying to stop drinking, get out of debt, save some more money, spend more time with your family or go traveling. A lot of millennials want to travel more.
Then, I will give you some examples of things that I’ve done in the past and things out in the future to help you guys learn how to make SMART goals.
T-ime bound Goals
Is it specific? For example, if you want to lose weight—okay, that’s a goal. But it’s not specific. Say I want to lose 20 pounds, or I want to lose 30 pounds, or I want to weigh 210 pounds, or whatever the weight you want to be; that makes it specific. Don’t just say you want to lose weight because that’s not specific. So, the chance of you accomplishing that goal is a lot less if you don’t set a number you want to reach.
Is it measurable? Well, if you’re trying to lose weight, that’s very measurable.
You just have to get on the scale, look down, and you can see how much you weigh and how much weight you’re losing, day after day, month after month.
Is it achievable? It can be, or maybe not. If I say I want to lose 20, or 30 pounds, it might be achievable. But if I say I want to lose a hundred pounds and I only weigh 200 pounds, there’s no way I’m gonna weigh a hundred pounds so that’s not achievable. It’s not even realistic.
Is it realistic? To be realistic, make sure that your body can be in a certain weight and accomplish that.
Is it time bound? This is the biggest one. The one that a lot of people don’t understand. It’s got to be time bound. So, being time bound, it’s got an end date. Therefore, resolutions are usually time bound to try and do by the end of the year, throughout the whole year. However, you want to have a date to achieve this. If you say I want to weigh 200 pounds by 2018, it’s fine. But you might want to say I want to weigh 210 pounds by June, to set a more specific date than just saying at the end of the year. By making sure it’s time bound, you’ll get a feeling of urgency and be more focused in achieving it.
My 2017 Resolutions
Let me tell you about one of my New Year’s Resolutions last year. My goal in 2017, not a very smart one though, was to read 52 books in a year. My goal was to read one book per week. I start off on fire about three books for the first two weeks, thinking I was gonna kill it. And then I just fell off the cliff. I stopped reading and ended up with just five books last year. I know, it’s NOT a very SMART goal. I never read 12 books in the entire year so how the heck was I gonna read 52 books.
So this year I’ve decided all right, let’s be more realistic. I think I can read one book a month. I mean that’s four weeks to read a book, right? There are audio books, you can listen to it while driving. Let me see if I can get 12 books down in a year first and then maybe the next year I can start adding more. In that way, it’s specific, 12 books in a year. It’s measurable. I believe it’s achievable. It’s realistic because my goal is to read one book in a month unlike last year where my goal was one book per week. And it is time bound.
I love Spartan racing, maybe you have heard of it. It’s an obstacle course race. There are three types, three distances—the sprint, the super and the beast. The beast is really long, about twelve miles or so, super is around eight, and sprint is a quick three-mile, kind of a 5k with a bunch of obstacles. So my goal was to complete my first Spartan Trifecta last year. I knew it’s achievable because I’ve run a sprint, I’ve done a super before, but never done them all in the same year but I knew I could do these. Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t realistic.
What happened was I had events to attend to during those races. I had a wedding to attend to, I had a family trip during the races down in Florida, which is easily for me to get to. I couldn’t attend a couple of these races so I’d have to go out of state, spend a lot of money to go to Oklahoma, Texas, or New York to race. It wasn’t realistic, I couldn’t achieve it, so it just wasn’t a smart goal for me in 2017.
This year, I have the same goal. But I’m going to achieve it this year. Why? Because I plan better, I know I can do it once it’s specific. I have the dates picked out for the race I’m going to do. I’m doing the Sprint in South Florida. I’m doing the Super in Chicago, I’ve already booked my flight, while my wife will go on a trip. And then the Beast will be in Lakeland, Florida in December. I have my plan, I know I can reach this goal, I haven’t booked anything else, I’ve scheduled these so I’m ready to go. If it was unattainable last year, it’s a smart goal this year.
Another example of a New Year’s Resolution is if you want to make more money. Again, make sure it’s specific—not just make more money. Say, I want to make 50k. If you made 50 last year then you may want to make 70 or 60k. Don’t say you want to make 250k because that’s probably not realistic. Make sure it’s measurable.
If you want to get out of debt, well that’s pretty measurable right? You know how much your debt is. If you have a 20k debt and you want to get it off so it’s measurable. Can you get out of debt within the year? That’s a usually a big feat so just be realistic. If you want to pay off the credit cards, your mortgage then make a SMART goal.
Spend more time with family—how’s that measurable? How are you going to measure more time? How much time you spent last year you’re going to compare that to the time you’re spending this year.
Travel more. If you went to a certain place last year then you’re going to two different places this year. There you go you’re traveling more.
Stop drinking. Well, that’s a tough one. I went through the 30-day experiment, no alcohol drinking for 30 days and it was pretty difficult. If you’re going to plan these things it’s good to have a strategy. Set a plan. How you going to reach that goal. Think about money. Is it gonna cost money to achieve any of these goals?
Take as an example my Spartan Race. It’s gonna be $300 or $400 just to race them. I also have to pay for a flight, a hotel room and other stuff. So I need to have the money to accomplish my goals. Logistics—plan everything, organize everything so you got a chance in reaching these goals.
Skills—do you have a skill set to reach these goals? Example, if I want to be an NFL player I need to have the skills do that so it’s really an unrealistic goal. But if I wanted to be good at football, I can train and do things like that. If you want to become a triathlete and you’re not a good swimmer, is that even achievable? Can you go out there and swim a couple of miles in the ocean? But maybe if you swim 300 yards this year or 500 yards, do that so you keep on improving.
- Plan your goals. Make sure you’re looking at the money, logistics and skills.
- See if your goals are SMART—specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound.
- Use a smart sheet that you can use to put your goals in or write them out and see if they’re SMART. Don’t be a part of the 80% statistic who break their New Year’s Resolutions during the first month of the new year.