Limiting yourself to one major, overarching goal in your personal and professional life forces you to think carefully about what areas really need attention. This also allows you to implement smaller, attainable goals as a natural part of your main one. For example, maybe this is the year you finally take that exam to further your career, or you decide to run a half marathon. Both goals will take preparation and day-to-day changes to achieve, which sticks with you better in the long run.
It’s the first week of a brand new year – what better time to set some resolutions than now? Realistically, you don’t need to wait for January to kick off some new habits or drop old ones, but opening a brand new calendar can be incredibly motivating. Resolutions are worth setting, but for most people, they fall through well before February. Instead of listing the same goals year after year, try a different approach for 2017: Choose just one thing personally, and one thing professionally, to set smarter resolutions.
Here are some other tips to make smarter resolutions this year:
It’s going to be much more difficult to let your goals fall by the wayside if you’re held accountable. An accountability partner can keep you on track and help you track your goals. You could check in with a mentor or business coach a couple times a month, or even just talk to a friend every week to fill each other in on your progress. If you’ve struggled with your resolutions in the past, an accountability partner could be the game changer you need.
Most people come up with vague resolutions that sound great in theory: be healthier, be more organized, save more money. The problem with goals like that is they lack guidelines to help you stay on track. If you want your goals to be SMART, make sure they’re:
Specific: Get as detailed as you possibly can. Your goal can evolve over time, but making it specific will help you create an effective roadmap to get there.
Measurable: Avoid writing a resolution like “I’m going to invest more.” Exactly how much do you plan to invest? How much will you start with? Put numbers to your goal so you know how you’re progressing throughout the year.
Attainable: Don’t make your goal so outlandish that you give up before you get started. It’s important that you believe it’s attainable (even if it will be difficult,) because otherwise it might be too intimidating.
Realistic: Similar to being attainable, you should set a goal that’s realistic for your situation and the timeline you’re working with. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself that you become burnt out.
Time-bound: Make sure you have a deadline. Even if you’re not sure exactly how long it will take to hit your goal, do your best to come up with a time span. Without that, it’s easy to let your momentum fall by the wayside.