Resolutions are OUT. Setting SMART Goals…Totally IN!
Every year, each of us start the new year by making resolutions that we end up being disappointed about when the year comes to an end. What if, this year, we pushed aside the conventional resolutions making and set out to accomplish one or two main things on our bucket lists. Setting SMART goals instead of resolutions…
Year after year, I and many of my cohorts set out to create a list of resolutions for the upcoming year. We make dinner, sit around the table with a bottle of vino and source out all the things we want and wish to accomplish in the upcoming year. We review the past year and all its milestones and misses and usually end up trying to find excuses on why we didn’t accomplish what we set out to do. All knowing, deep down, that life often gets in the way of “getting things done”.
The most popular resolutions are always losing weight, getting a better balance between work and play, and of course, let’s not forget, trying to get a clearer picture of our careers. All of us filled with great hope and anticipation as we write these resolutions down. Problem is, that at the year-end review, most of these resolutions do not pan out and we are left regretful and depressed.
So, at the end of last year, my friends and I sat down and I kyboshed the regular “resolution setting ritual”. I decided to change things up a bit. I basically told them to choose two or three SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results, Time-Bound) goals for the upcoming year. That meant a lot more thought would have to go into setting these.
But first, I had to explain to them what setting a SMART goal entailed.
So, for beginners, the goal had to be “Specific”. You had to describe the “when”, “what”, “why” and “how” of your goal. I gave them the following example to show them what I meant. “By July 31st of 2020, I will lose 10lbs by walking 20minutes each day and reducing my daily caloric intake to 1200 calories a day”. This was clearly specific and in line with the SMART goal method.
The second thing was that it had to be “Measurable”. Losing weight was easily measurable. You had a starting weight and a date specifically set to weigh in to see if you had attained your objective. Simple.
The third aspect of setting the SMART goal was that it had to be “Achievable”. You had to have the physical capacity or the mental talent or skill to achieve it. So, for my example of losing weight, I had to be in good physical shape so that I could exercise and eat the way the goal was being set without jeopardizing my physical and mental state.
Next came the “Results-focused” part of the goal. Goals should measure outcomes, not activities. So, the point wasn’t to pat myself on the back if I ran 30 minutes instead of 20. The entire measurement was based on me losing the 10 lbs by my set date. I either accomplished that or I didn’t.
Lastly, the SMART goal had to be “Time-Bound”. The goal you chose had to have a date of accomplishment. In my example, July 31st 2020 was my time-bound deadline for achieving my SMART goal.
I must admit that I was met with some resistance at first but after a few bottles of wine and some brainstorming sessions, we had all come up with two SMART goals that we wanted to accomplish. We left feeling excited at the thought that next year’s review would probably be filled with joy and a greater sense of accomplishment as we went through the round table and savored each other’s victories. We also agreed to meet up for dinner on a monthly basis for what I called “The zoom SMART check-in”. This was basically all of us meeting for dinner and reviewing where we were in our SMART goal ascension. This gave us a chance to spend time together on a regular basis and to support each other in the accomplishment of each other’s goals. Win – Win situation.
One of my SMART goals was to publish my first book, a memoir, and look how that worked out. I not only accomplished that goal with the release of "Suicide Kills", but also created a musical album and developed an online course to go along with the book which created a very unique product that I named the "Transformational Trifecta Experience". A very productive real all around.
Even though 2020 turned out to be one of the strangest, most stressful year in most of our lives, my friends and I kept our focus on the things we could control and managed to achieve the 2 to 3 SMART goals we had created for ourselves.
Setting SMART goals is a great way to formulate a much clearer picture of what you want and how you’re going to get there. I challenge you to form a friend’s round table this year and set some SMART goals together. I bet you’ll be surprised at just how much you can achieve by using this method. It will also serve as a great way to keep in touch with your friends and supporting each other’s achievements.