As a goal-setting enthusiast, the New Year is the ultimate setting of goals event.
In fanatic-like behavior I impose my goal-setting beliefs on anyone who will listen, those who only listen politely, and those who specifically state, “I don’t set New Year Resolutions. I don’t want to hear about it.” (I think it was Mike, my Significant Other, who said that.)
I relish sorting out the pros and cons and neutrals of the past year.
Then devising a plan to nudge neutrals into pros and rein in the cons.
To convert goal-setting nonbelievers, I read widely about goals (Edwin Locke is the goal-setting pioneer. I know this because I Googled “Who is the goal-setting pioneer?”), memorize acronyms (Goals are SMART. That is Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) and study statistics (40% of Americans make New Year Resolutions, but only 8% keep them.)
In hopes of increasing the 8% of goal keeping Americans to say 8.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001%, I’m offering alternative suggestions about the goal setting advice offered online.
Finding a Goal
The first step in goal-setting is finding a goal.
Newsweek offers fifteen goals for 2018 in case their readers can’t figure a resolution out for themselves. There are lofty ones like “Make meaningful connections.” Ones that are doomed as in “Hit the gym.” Then there’s the low bar one of “Take a warm bath.” Seriously? “Take a warm bath” is a goal? It’s not “Take a warm bath after you hit the gym” or “Take a warm bath with your partner to improve your connection” the suggestion is “Take a warm bath” with the explanation that it will burn as many calories as a brisk walk. Really? How long does the bather needed to soak in that 104-degree tub? Perhaps the fine print of this resolution is “Take a warm bath and immerse yourself instead of eating snacks.”
My advice is to ignore any online suggestions for a resolution. Create one yourself more challenging than taking a bath. I’m sure your SO (Significant Other) could propose one. Now that I think of it, that may have been what I was doing when Mike said, “I don’t set New Year Resolutions. I don’t want to hear about it.”
Stating a Goal
The next step is to write the goal statement.
There’s a plethora of surveys, time management sheets, and weekly planners to aid in writing a goal statement. By the time I waded through the sites, printed sheaves of flow charts, and sorted through rows of transitive verbs to find the most empowering, I had lost interest.
A suggestion that I skimmed from a long lost article is to distill your resolution to one word. I’ve done that for the last three years and it works. (If it doesn’t work for you at least you haven’t wasted much time.)
“Health” helped me to shed 30 pounds. (A prediabetes diagnosis was also a motivating factor. Nothing like the threat of losing limbs and eyesight to encourage passing on desserts.)
My last word for 2017, “Release,” encouraged me to let things go literally and figuratively. (I let go of the stuff in my overstuffed garage through EBay and Craigslist. However, I tried and failed at letting go of making the bed every morning. Am I the only one who does this?)
“Focus” is 2018’s mantra. I chose this because owning a quality camera doesn’t create a quality photographer. The gauges and meters and menus on my Canon EOS 70D would test SpaceX engineers’ skills. Focus means to make an effort on, well, focusing among other aspects of photography.
I suggest keeping your goal short and to the point. A one word imperative sentence like: Look! Stop! Run! Bathe! (No, don’t use that last one!)
Achieving a Goal
Actually working toward your goal is the most important step.
Techcrunch.com suggests downloading Apps to help keep you on track to achieve your goal. You name your goal, there’s an App for it. I know because I downloaded Apps for Carb Counting, Calorie Calculating, and Workout Tracking.
My experience with App tracking is that most helped, but fell short. It wasn’t until I texted my two friends with requests to check my daily progress, did I reach my goal. I was publicly accountable.
My recommendation for achieving your goal is to ask a friend to monitor your progress. For the thick skinned, asking a frenemy to keep tabs would be especially motivating.
A Non-goal Goal
Megan Marckel, Prince Harry’s fiancé, stated in her former blog, that she wasn’t making New Year’s Resolutions anymore because she never kept them. (Then she wrote that she was simply going to “Make room for magic” which sounds like a goal to me.) A few months later, she met her prince.
The good thing about goal-setting is that once you accomplish what you set out to do, there’s always another one to take its place.
The bad thing about goal-setting is that once you accomplish what you set out to do, there’s always another one to take its place.