Welcome to the New Year! The start of a new year often signals a time where we stop to reflect on our lives, how we are going, and where we would ultimately like to be..
And of course this often means.. New Years Resolutions! Whether you believe in them or not, during the month of January it can feel like everyone is talking about their “new year, new me” mindset.Have you ever noticed though that come February, most people have forgotten all about it? What is it that makes New Years Resolutions so difficult to stick to, more so than any other goals we might have?
Usually I find that it is due to a couple of reasons. First, new years resolutions tend to be BIG. Have you ever hear someone say that this year they are going to save up for a house deposit? That is a big goal! And while it is certainly not unobtainable, we tend to give up on goals that are too big because they simply become too overwhelming.
The second thing I find is that new years resolutions tend to be ambiguous. Think about the age old “I’m going to lose weight”. Again, not unobtainable by any means, but how much weight? When will you know when you’ve reached that goal? How will you know when to stop? How will you even do it? Vague goals leave a lot of room for guessing, which means they leave a lot of room for error.
Third, they don’t tend to be time-bound. Again, this leads to a whole lot of ambiguity, and opportunity for becoming forgotten about. Finally, new years resolutions can tend to be relevant. Often we get caught up in feeling really inspired about things that we can get ahead of ourselves. However goals that are irrelevant for us as individuals can become too hard and too overwhelming, so we lose interest and drop them.
Luckily there is a really simple formula for locking down a really solid goal. They should be specific; measurable; achievable; relevant; and time-bound (or SMART for short).
For example, take a new years resolution of “saving for a house deposit”.It’s fairy vague, the amount is undefined which means it will be hard to achieve; and there is no time-frame.However, if I rephrase it to “I plan to put $2000 per month into a separate savings account so that I can use it towards a house deposit in 2023”, this fits the criteria much more appropriately.So if you have found yourself making some new years resolutions this year, have a think about whether they meet the criteria of a SMART goal and if not, look at rephrasing them into something that does.You may find you have a lot more success in meeting them!
If you are interested in discussing any of the points further, we would be more than happy to hear from you. Feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will answer any questions you may have.