by Kasey Tross
I hate the word "resolution." Whenever I think of that word, I imagine someone putting one finger in the air, puffing out their chest, and with an obnoxiously authoritative voice announcing, "I resoooolve toooo eat healthier!" (or lose weight, exercise more, write more, be a nicer person, stop picking their nose, etc.)
And then they smile, put their finger down, and turn around and eat a cheeseburger.
I mean, really, what does it mean to "resolve" to do something? We're imperfect beings. Resolve is far too profound and serious a word for us fallible humans, especially as a yearly event.
So anyway, long ago I ditched the idea of New Years Resolutions and instead I create my goals for the upcoming year. Recently I got a boost in this department with a free webinar by Michael Hyatt in which he discussed the value of goals and the hallmarks of a good goal. It was nothing I hadn't heard before, but I definitely needed the reminder. So here it is for you too:
A good goal
has a DEADLINE
So how do your goals stack up? Saying, "I resolve to lose weight" does not have the same power as saying, "My goal is to lose 20lbs by June 1st." When I decided I wanted to run the Monument Avenue 10k I knew that my deadline for being able to run 6.2 miles was March 28th. Which brings me to my next point...
Once you have a goal that is specific, concrete, and has a deadline,
MAKE AN ACTION PLAN
(break it down into bite-sized pieces)
Again, when I decided I my goal was to run the 10k on March 28th, and I had never even been able to run a mile without stopping, I knew that giving running a whirl for the first time on March 27th probably wouldn't give me stellar results. So I made a plan that included smaller goals: run 1 mile the first month, 2 the second, and so on. I broke those down into the even smaller goal that I wanted to run at least 3 times each week. By the time March 1st came around I could do 5 miles.
One of my goals this year is to have the first draft of my book finished by October 31st (deadline!) so I can NaNoWriMo my heart out on an novel I've been DYING to write. The current book exists, but it's in reaaaally rough shape (Grand-Canyon-sized plot holes, random characters that just drop out of sight completely halfway through the book, that sort of thing) so I need to tie up loose ends and polish it. And in order to do that, my smaller goal (action plan) is to rewrite one chapter per week. That is challenging, yet doable.
So once you've set your goals and created an action plan, don't forget about these two more pieces of advice that will certainly ensure your success:
WRITE IT DOWN!
Just the act of writing down your goals and posting them somewhere makes you feel accountable (after all, they're in WRITING!) but also snagging a buddy to act as an accountability partner for you is a great insurance policy for your success.
So...anybody want to read a chapter of a book a week? ;-)
Some other goals of mine for the year:
1. Eat at least 10 servings of vegetables daily.
2. Read the Book of Mormon (again) by June 1st.
3. Submit at least 5 more stories to the Friend magazine by December 1st.
4. Read at least 20 books in 2016.
5. Make contact with each of my Visiting Teaching sisters every month.
Under a lot of my goals I have the breakdown; for example, for my Book of Mormon reading goal I noted beneath it "In order to do this I must read 3 pages or 1.5 chapters each day." For my 20 books goal I have written, "In order to do this I must read about 2 books per month." (I'm excited about that goal!) So clearly I'm going to have to develop some good daily and weekly habits to go along with my goals- it's all part of the process.
I hope these goal-setting reminders help you as much as they've helped me. May 2016 be a smashing success for you and your goals!