With every new year, comes hope, potential, and possibility. Annually, I sit down and type up my goals for the following year. I have been doing this ever since I can remember (in the old days, pre-laptops, I would scratch it out on paper). I find them magical for three reasons: first, they inspire you to buckle down and focus on attaining them; secondly, they are benchmarks you can use to measure your success; and thirdly, they instill accountability. I have always believed in the power of suggestion…thoughts lead to words, which lead to actions…(did you ever see or read The Secret?) Thus, the energy you put out will come to fruition in every aspect of your life. After all, everyone and everything is simply an aggregation of energy. Every December, I excitedly open up last year’s goals and evaluate…Which of them did I achieve? Which did I fall short of? What can I do better next year? Then I start anew…
Defining goals and attaching them to an action plan in a strategic way enables you to gauge progress and determine precisely where you want and need to go. Achieving a goal is beyond satisfying and naturally leads to a healthy vicious cycle. One of the most effective methods of goal-setting is called SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for:
Here is an illustration of a SMART goal:
Instead of: “I will exercise more,”
Change it to: “I will run on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for 45 minutes, followed by a 15-minute stretch beginning on Wednesday, January 2nd, and take the 7:00 am yoga class at my gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
The key is to stick to your goals, track them, and re-evaluate every so often. Use tricks like rewarding yourself every month you maintain them with something related….for the above sample goal, you could treat yourself to new running shorts or signing up for a 10K. Ultimately, the inherent benefits of succeeding will enhance your inspiration to continue. Remember that experiencing a set-back is normal. In fact, my favorite definition of success is this:
I wish you all a very inspired, prosperous, successful, and healthy new year!