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Sharon Crook


December 24, 2023

New Year, Better Goals

The new year is right around the corner and with it comes thoughts of resolutions, fresh starts and new beginnings. Just like last year. And the one before that. And the one before that. We vow to do better. We resolve to be more disciplined. We plan to travel more, work less, eat healthier, go to the gym consistently....the list can go on and on. But did we accomplish those things?  Did we check any boxes or mark anything off the list?

Let's look at a new year with a different perspective:  New Year, Same Life.

While we can certainly celebrate another year lived, a new year beginning isn't anything magical. It's the same "tomorrow" as all the other "tomorrows" that preceded it. You won't become a different person overnight. You won't suddently be a super-hero who easily crushes goals and sticks to plans. January 1st is just another day. This year, it's just another Monday. Gross.

It sounds like I'm really squashing your dreams, huh? I'm really not!  Let's just frame the new year a little differently. Instead of making lofty goals and general declarations, try setting some SMART goals.

S: specific

M: measurable

A: achievalbe

R: relevant

T: time-bound

Here is an example of taking a generic goal and turning it in to a smart one:

Instead of this GENERAL goal: "I'm going to go to the gym regularly" 

Try this SPECIFIC goal: "I'm going to go to the gym before/after work 3 days a week for 8 weeks" 

The more specific goal checks all the SMART boxes. It's measurable by logging your gym days. It's acheivable by keeping it to 3x a week, allowing for life stuff to get in the way. It's relevant to your health/fitness. It has a time frame of 8 weeks. Walla!

Here is another common example:

Instead of this GENERAL goal: "I am going to lose weight"

Try this SPECIFIC goal: "I'm going to lose 1 pound a week for 16 weeks by packing my lunch instead of eating out during the work week." 

Like the other one, this one can be measured by tracking your packed lunch days. It's achievable by allowing dining out for lunch on the weekends. It's relevant to your health and has a 16 week time frame.

In both examples, the SMART goal provides a plan of action for you take. Keep it simple. We don't do complicated long-term. Keep it easy. It's difficult to stay motivated to do hard things over and over again. Find a support system!  Accountability and support are a huge part of success.

Take a look at the year you're wrapping up. What goals did you set for yourself for 2023?  Did you meet them?  If so, how did you do it?  What made you successful?  If you didn't meet them, why not?  What got in your way?  Learning from your own experience is key. Repeat what worked, change what didn't. Be smart!

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before and more importantly, your DOING SOMETHING. So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop. don't worry that it isn't good enough or it isn't perfect, whatever it is; art or love, work, or family, or life. Make youre mistakes, next year and forever."  - Neil Gaiman

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