With a new year about to begin, many of us are thinking about making resolutions for things we would like to do, or stop doing, in the coming year. Many common new year’s resolutions are too lofty or vague, contributing to the cynicism and lack of follow-through people often feel about them not long after the new year is underway. “Next year I’m going to get healthier, be kinder, work more, waste less time…” If your resolutions sound like any of these, you are not setting yourself up for success.
Research conducted by psychologist and author Richard Wiseman showed that 52% of resolution-makers were confident that they would achieve their goals, but only 12% actually succeeded. Those who were most successful took meaningful steps to achieve their resolutions, like setting measurable step-by-step goals and sharing their commitments with friends and family.
Good intentions are not enough to make changes. You are much more likely to achieve your resolutions if you make realistic goals and break those goals down into measurable chunks, projects or tasks. Using the “SMART” goal setting approach is a great technique for creating resolutions that give you the best chance of success. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Sensitive. Here we explain and give examples of SMART goals.
For example, if your New Year’s Resolution is to find a new job, you could set SMART goals such as:
- Devoting one hour a day three days a week to career related projects like updating your resume, participating in strength-finding activities, contacting recruiters and practicing interviewing.
- Spending three hours each weekend researching companies and replying to job postings.
- Scheduling at least three informational interviews per month.
- Establishing an accountability partner (perhaps someone else you know who is also seeking to change jobs) you will touch base with weekly to check in on how you’re both doing with your goals.
While you are working towards your goals, look for small ways to reward yourself for your efforts along the way. That could be as simple as getting outside for a short walk or meeting a friend for coffee after you’ve completed your weekend job applications. Celebrating your successes will help you stay energized and committed to achieving your goals.
Make your new year’s resolutions SMART and start the new year poised for success!