it’s almost resolution time. I often say, I make no resolutions; I simply execute on my dreams on a day to day basis. In a practical sense that may be not be accurate. We all have plans that we create for a new day, a new month or a New Year. Whether we voice them as resolutions or not, they serve the same purpose.
I am super effective at making my dreams come true. In a former life, I must have been a fairy Godmother. I figure I didn’t like the outfit so I ditched that gig. Obviously, I needed a work around to get the same results so I rely on the SMART technique. There are different variations of this technique. Here, I will present the one that works for me.
The key ingredient to any accomplishment is to be very SPECIFIC about what you want and what you hope to accomplish. You must know what counts as a win and why? What are you willing to overlook or sacrifice to meet your goal? Specificity is the S in the SMART system.
There are the other 4 steps to making all your dreams come true without wishing on a star:
M – Measurable. Your goal and the steps to achieve same must be measurable. You have to know what constitutes success and exactly how that success is measured in increments. Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress so you have tangible evidence that you have accomplished the goal.
The steps you take shouldn’t be muddy. One shouldn’t bleed into the other or success becomes unlikely. Each and every day you must get up, put in the work towards your goal. That work should be discrete and separately identifiable. If you plan a lump sum approach you will FAIL! Believe me on this. Once you start playing the averages game, you are aiming for a consolation prize. Show me someone who says “well I didn’t do well on my test today, so I will just do twice as much tomorrow” and I’ll show you a student who fails. The grades are not given on that basis. There is one grade per assignment. Relying on one to count for two means you get 50 % credit at best.
A. – Actionable. Your goal must be actionable or achievable. What this means is you have to be a participant in the outcome. You can’t wish on someone else’s progress. You must possess the skills, knowledge and wherewithal to achieve your goal or you must be willing to work to possess same PRIOR to setting targets that depend on their possession. Make sense? If you want something you are simply unwilling to work for, that is not a resolution. That’s magic. If you are ‘au fait’ with spells and incantations, you really don’t need my advice. Go sort out the witches brew and leave the rest of us to work our way through life. No one needs to plan a 100 pound weight loss if you already know you are unwilling to curb your dietary intake and exercise is not in your vocabulary.
It is similarly ridiculous to wish you could build a house on the moon. At this moment in time, that can’t be done. Why would you jeopardize your chances of success by aiming for something which simply can’t be done? (at least not yet). Building a house on the moon may be a desire but it should never be on your Resolution list.
R – Results Driven. Goals must focus on specific outcomes. Your resolution should include a measure of outcomes, not just the steps taken to get there.
T- Time Bound. A goal must have a time frame. No time frame? no sense of urgency. If you want to lose weight when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” is lovely but tantamount to an admission of defeat. Setting a time frame sets your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.
I have found that your timeline should also be tight enough to force action without being so tight that the impossibility of achieving your goal in such a tight frame drives you to quit. Let’s face it, no one is going to get a PhD in 3 months of attending Graduate school. If you know how to do that, again I bow to your superior methods. A too loose time frame encourages procrastination.
At this time of year, thousands of people are gearing up for their #1 resolution, which is to lose weight. Thousands of people will be just as fat next year as they are today. They didn’t have a SMART plan. The ones who win, plan SMART.
A SMART resolution would sound something like this. I plan to lose 50 pounds by August 28th. I will go to spin class every morning, cut my carbohydrate intake and keep a food and exercise diary so I see how I am doing.
Do you see the specificity, the actionable steps, the ability to measure your progress AND the timeline involved? If you do, create your list and go WIN this year.
2015 here we come!