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Keeping New Year's Resolutions

1/11/2018 (Permalink)

New Year's Resolutions are a time honored tradition - we take the opportunity of the change in the calendar to change our habits.  Whether or not our good intentions turn into real change is often decided in the moment the resolution is made, not in the first weeks of the new year.  To ensure the best chance of keeping your New Year's resolution, take some advice from goal-setting research.  

The wisdom below didn't originate here in our office, but, it is something we try to follow each time we set new goals at SERVPRO of Lake Worth / Benbrook. The essence of the ideas about to be covered have been repeated many times, in many formats - you're likely to encounter them in any article or training session related to goal setting.  Why is that? Because they work, at least that has been our experience...

For the purpose of this article, we're using a weight loss goal - modify the lessons as needed to match your individual goals.

You want New Year's resolutions to be SMART:

Specific: Be clear with want you want to happen/achieve. Avoid vagueness. Too much detail is better than too much.  Say, "I want to lose 12 pounds total and 3 inches from my waistline" versus "I want to lose weight and look better in clothes". 

Measureable: Your resolution should be tracked and your progress measured.  Losing weight lends itself easily to this, but, for other types of resolutions, you might need to get more creative on how you measure it.  For example, if your New Year's resolution is to spend more quality time with your family (you can be more specific, cant you?), then maybe you will check your social media posts weekly to ensure your posts highlight the time you are spending with your family. Or, maybe you'll make a weekly photo journal of you and your loved ones enjoying each other's time.  Whatever your goal, devise a way to measure it and then keep track.

Achievable: Make goals/resolutions that you can meet/keep. Incremental improvement is much easier than making an enormous leap.  Setting an unobtainable goal leads to frustration and, likely, abandoning the endeavor. Rather, be realistic with yourself and set your target within reach.  If you reach the goal too easily, you can set another, more challenging goal upon reaching the first (just be sure to keep them SMART).  So, opt for, "I'm going to lose 15 pounds" versus "I'm going to fit into on my old Army uniform". 

Relevant: Resolutions which don't make it into February are usually resolutions made without the proper relevancy.  To undergo the changes necessary to keep meaningful resolutions, the desired change has to be relevant to your individual view of your improved life. If you are setting a change goal, the reasons for your change have to be clear to you and you have to have buy in from yourself.  Structure your goals around the proper reasons, and you'll find them much easier to reach.

Timed: Put a clock on your resolution/goal, just be sure it is a realistic clock.  Much like setting an unobtainable goal can lead to frustration, setting an unrealistic timeline can also lead to failure. However, not having a timeline can be just as dangerous, so, be specific with the timed nature of the resolution. Opt for "I'm going to lose 15 pounds by July 1st" versus "I'm going to lose some weight". 

We implement this SMART approach to all of our goal setting at SERVPRO of Lake Worth / Benbrook.  We hope the ideas help you reach your milestones for 2018!

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