I’ve never really been a New Year resolutions person.
(Don’t miss your free goal setting worksheet pack at the end of this post!)
There’s nothing even remotely appealing about the “HEY! LET’S SET ALLLLLLL OF THESE NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS AND THINGS WE’RE GOING TO CHANGE!” and then feeling awful about myself when I’ve broken them on day three of the New Year.
So, I don’t make “resolutions” in that traditional sense of the word. I ditch those New Year resolutions and do something far more productive.
Why Ditch New Year Resolutions?
(Or January resolutions. Or, resolutions any time, really.)
New Year Resolutions are . . . tradition.
Most of us make New Year resolutions because at some point along the way someone (looking at you society) told us that we’re supposed to make them.
(And, I don’t know about you, but I loathe being told what to do.)
(You’re not the boss of me…)
(Digress . . .)
ANYWAY . . .
To me, resolutions feel more like a hype that you are required do after popping confetti poppers and cheers-ing champagne over some crockpot dip.
Sorry! No more chocolate cake for me! It’s a New Year and New Diet! (YAY!)
And, that just seems . . . icky to me.
(I mean, helloooooo. Chocolate cake!)
New Year resolutions are some party-related unrealistic goals that you mumble while you’re watching a ball drop on television.
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And, why make New Year’s resolutions just to feel bad about myself?
I’m into making something more intentional for the year than “Diet! Lose 50 pounds!” or “Declutter the house!” and “Make an organized kids’ area in our small home!”
(Or, any of the other New Year’s resolution examples that you can insert here from your own life.)
With New Year resolutions, we rarely think about HOW we’re going to attain those personal goal examples.
Instead, we just think about what we need to change but often put no planning behind it.
I mean, how are you going to lose 50 pounds or get decluttered, anyway? It sounds good (really good, actually). But, after December 31st, how is it going to happen?
According to some New Year’s resolution statistics, as much as 80% of all New Year’s resolutions fail before February.
That’s one month, people!
One month before your BIG CHANGE PLANS and GOAL SETTING turn into a MEH, MAYBE NEXT YEAR shrug.
And, I don’t know about you, but I’m not going through another year like that.
Not this year.
UGH. So why make New Year resolutions?
Hear me out . . .
Instead of making New Year resolutions you make goals.
Goal Setting Definition
What are goals?
Goals are things that you want to accomplish in life, and setting and achieving goals are an important part of life.
Goals are intentional changes that take specific steps to attain.
Resolutions are just a declaration to do something without any actions or planning behind them.
Types of goals include personal goals, financial goals, business goals, family goals, student goals, and more.
In order to achieve a goal, you have to identify your goal, then goal plan. To do this, you need to go through a goal setting process.
(It sounds boring, but it’s actually really cool and fun!)
According to YourDictionary, “The definition of goal setting is the process of identifying something that you want to accomplish and establishing measurable goals and timeframes.”
One goal setting process is by using SMART Goals.
What are SMART Goals?
SMART is actually a goal-setting acronym that stands for:
With SMART Goals, you not only think about what you want to change, but also about how you’re going to achieve that goal.
(And, it’s that second part that most people forget about. I personally think it’s carb overload during the New Year’s Eve parties that make us forget. But, whatever.)
When you’re making your SMART Goals, you need to set aside some quiet, uninterrupted time.
Maybe it’s while your kids are in a class or at gymnastics or a playdate.
Or, maybe it’s when they’re asleep in the wee morning hours or late at night.
Maybe you need to trade in some favors for a babysitter.
Whatever you do, you need some time for yourself where you won’t be interrupted (yes, this means even on social media–shut it off!).
Then, you follow these non-New Year resolutions steps — (or, the anti resolution process, if you will…)
SMART Goal Setting Steps
SMART Goal Steps #1: Specific
With SMART Goals, you start with being SPECIFIC.
That means instead of just saying, “I will get organized in the new year!” you pinpoint exactly what you want to accomplish.
I mean, get really specific.
A SMART Goal takes a broad statement and breaks it down into specific, measurable, and attainable steps.
“I will get organized!” is super broad. But, “I will organize the hall closet and donate the unused items by January 10th!” is super focused.
How to determine your Specific SMART Goals:
1. Set a timer for 5 minutes.
2. Brainstorm the following question:
What do you want to accomplish this year?
Don’t give it too much thought and write down everything that comes to mind that you want to accomplish in the next year. (Don’t worry, we’ll get more focused as we work through this process.)
Your goals can be as large as “Make $100,000 in my business.” or they can be unique New Year’s resolutions specific to your family like, “How to get organized for school.”
(Everyone’s New Year resolutions examples are different, so don’t look to others to complete your personal goals for the year!)
You can even do this goal setting exercise for family, home, and work, if you want to break them down separately. I do this exercise for my business, then family/home, and then homeschooling. Examples of goals are tailored to your life, so don’t be afraid to play around with what works for you!
3. Now, review your list of items.
4. Set another timer, but this time for 2 minutes. In those 2 minutes, circle the TOP 5 goals that you want to accomplish for the new year. (If you choose more than 5, it may feel overwhelming. So, if you accomplish your 5 goals, then you can go back and set new ones.)
Now, hang onto this list as we work our way through the next goal setting examples.
TIP: Using a timer keeps you on track! Don’t skip that part!
SMART Goal Steps #2: Measurable
The next SMART goal setting step is that it must be measurable.
THIS IS, I BELIEVE, WHERE MOST PEOPLE FAIL IN THEIR PERSONAL GOAL SETTING!
We love to set goals, but we never take a moment to consider how we are going to get to those goals.
Measurable goals mean that you know specifically how and when you reach your goals.
Stating, “Be thinner and happier in the New Year!” is not really part of measurable personal goals.
Stating, “Losing 10 pounds by July 1st and reducing my blood pressure to a normal level” are both measurable goals.
Saying, “I want to make more money in the new year!” is not a measurable goal.
Saying, “I want to make $2,500 more by July 1st.” is measurable.
(Are you starting to see the difference?)
Using your goal list (from #1), do the following:
1. Review your goal list of five goals. Create five columns with one of your five goals written at the top of each column.
2. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Brainstorm how you will measure each of these goals.
3. Write your measuring tool in the column for each goal. For example, if one of your goals is to start walking more, a measurement of success for this goal may be, “Walk 1/2 mile three times per week.”
BE AS SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE FOR EACH MEASUREMENT TOOL UNDER EACH GOAL.
TIP: Don’t focus your goals solely on what you “don’t” want to do. Instead, focus on what you want to accomplish. For example, don’t just make your goal “I want to quit smoking.” Instead, make it, “I want to quit smoking and run a 5K by August 1st.”
SMART Goal Steps #3: Attainable
Now, let’s take a step back and review your columns of goals and how you will measure success for reaching those goals.
Are those goals and measurement tools attainable?
If you put “Take a family vacation to Greece” as one of your goals, but have no financial means to make that happen (or you have to go into deep debt), is that really a goal that you want to focus on this year?
This is a step where it’s OK to revise and even cross off some of your goals.
REMEMBER: WE ARE TRYING TO SET YOU UP FOR THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF SUCCESS TO REACH YOUR GOALS THIS YEAR.
Also, don’t use this step as an excuse to scare you away from new goals. Change can cause anxiety, so push through that fear if you have goals that are specific and attainable.
Review your list and revise (or delete) any goals that aren’t measurable and attainable for you this year.
SMART Goal Steps #4: Relevant
Now that we’ve isolated your goals (Step 1), assigned their measurement (Step 2), and determined if your personal goals are really attainable (Step 3), let’s move onto Step 4: Relevant.
When determining a goal’s relevancy you want to ask yourself, “Why do I want to accomplish this goal?”
What is the objective behind your goal and will the goal really help you achieve the objective?
For example, maybe you have a goal to reduce the kids’ outside-the-home activities because you never feel like you have enough time for homeschooling. Is this really because they have too many activities, or does fall under time management? Asking, “What are the objectives of this goal?” will help you to revise your goals.
Take a moment and look at each of your column of goals. Ask, “Why do I want to accomplish this goal?”
In some cases, asking this simple question will make it clear that this goal may need to be revised or even put on the back burner.
SMART Goal Steps #5: Timely
This last step is putting the cherry on top of everything you’ve been working on with your list.
The “T” in the SMART Goals stands for TIMELY. It means that you assign time and deadlines to all of your goals.
THIS IS AN IMPORTANT STEP TO YOUR GOAL SETTING SUCCESS, DO DO NOT SKIP IT!
Here’s how to do it…
(more to this step below)
1. Review each of your revised goal columns with the measurable steps (and updated and revised from Steps 3 and 4).
2. Set a timer for 2 minutes. Review your goal columns and note if you want to accomplish each goal in the next 1 month, 3 months, or 6+ months.
3. Set another timer. This time for 5 minutes. Focus on one goal column per every 5 minutes, starting with the goal to accomplish in 1 month first..Write down all of the steps that it will take to accomplish this goal within one month.
REMEMBER: Be very specific in your steps!
For example, if your one of your one month goals is to wean yourself off of caffeinated drinks like coffee and diet soda (without monster headaches and withdrawal) and start drinking a minimum of 64 ounces of water each day, your specific personal goals might look like this:
Personal Goals Examples
Day 1: Drink regular caffeinated drinks.
Day 3: Drink 3/4 caffeinated drinks + 1/4 decaffeinated drink.
Day 5: Drink 1/2 caffeinated drinks + 1/2 decaffeinated drinks.
Day 7: Drink 1/4 caffeinated drink + 3/4 decaffeinated drinks.
Day 9: Drink decaffeinated drinks only.
Day 10: Limit decaffeinated drinks to 2 + 16 ounces of water.
And, Day 12: Limit decaffeinated drinks to 1 + 24 ounces of water.
And, you would continue documenting your steps throughout the month until you are drinking only water and have completely weaned yourself off of decaffeinated drinks.
You will repeat this step with each of the goals, resetting the timer for 5 minutes for each goal.
4. Now, look at your calendar and assign specific dates to each step (under every goal).
In the personal goal setting example we used here, Day 1 might be January 10th, Day 3 is January 13, and so on.
-CONCLUSION: GOAL SETTING PROCESS-
Goal setting is an important part of life, but it doesn’t need to happen on January 1st of every New Year with a lot of stress attached.
One of the things that I like about the SMART goal setting process is that you follow specific steps to help you achieve your goals.
Also, SMART goals aren’t just for the New Year!
You can go through the SMART goals process any time you want to achieve something–whether it’s a personal goal, a home school goal, a business goal, or a family goal!
Let’s quickly review what you learned so you can get started setting your own goals!
(Don’t forget to download your free goal setting worksheet pack!)
1. Ditch New Year resolutions and use SMART goals instead.
2. List out your goals and make sure they are SPECIFIC.
3. Assign MEASURABLE check points to your goals.
4. Review your goals to make sure they are ATTAINABLE so you’re not setting yourself up for failure.
5. Ask yourself if your goals are RELEVANT to where you want to go in your life.
6. Make sure that your goals are completed in a TIMELY manner by assigning short term (1 month and 3 month) timeframes, as well as long term (6+ months) timeframes. Don’t forget to assign specific dates of completion to your goals!
DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE GOAL SETTING WORKSHEET PACK
Need more help?
We have a FREE goal setting worksheet pack to help you work through each of the steps we’ve discussed here.
(Free for a limited time only!)
The goal setting worksheet pack also includes examples to help you plan your own personal goals.
When you download the goal setting worksheet pack, you can re-use it whenever you’re ready to set goals (and CRUSH them!).
You are important.
This is your year.
Let’s do this.