It’s that time of year – time to write our New Year’s Resolutions. Time to write down the promises we’ll be making to ourselves as we look to improve aspects of our personal and professional lives in 2013 and beyond.
The word “Resolution” can be described as “A formal expression of will or intent”, which sounds about right. But what about your resolutions? Do you consider them to be formalized expressions? Think about this; If someone were to be making an important promise to you, rather than simply promising it to yourself, what action would you take in order to consider it “formal”?
For resolutions to stick, we need to treat them as if they are important goals. Therefore we need to take on the SMART approach. Let’s take the #1 Personal Resolution, weight loss, and give it a new spin.
I want to lose weight in 2013 – Using the SMART approach
S is for Specific: We need to make our resolution specific. Are we trying to lose a certain amount of pounds? Or are we trying to reach a target weight? Without a specific target our resolution will likely remain a wish, rather than a process with an expected outcome.
M is for Measurable: Before we can declare ourselves ready to begin working towards our resolution we need to know how much we weight right now. Otherwise we’ll never know if we have reached our goal – or even if we’re heading in the right direction.
A is for Actionable: Sure we want to lose weight, but what are we going to do to make it happen? What are our strategies and tactics that are going to set the stage for success, and provide us with a day-to-day plan to ensure we’re keeping on track?
R is for Realistic: We don’t want to bite off more than we can chew, pardon the expression! It’s not healthy to lose too much weight too fast. Make your resolution one that challenges you, but not one that leaves you frustrated – or worse, one that leaves you unhealthy because you weren’t realistic about what was a appropriate amount.
T is for Time-Based: The great thing about New Year’s Resolutions is that they run on an annual cycle, but by setting timelines for specific tactical components of our overall resolution we can avoid trying to crash-diet two weeks before hitting the beach. Don’t just set one time table, set several for each step in the process.
Now, if we re-write our resolution using the SMART approach it may look more like this: I will 10 pounds by July 1st. This will bring my weight to 150 pounds, and I will do this by bringing my net calories down to 1,500 per day.
And you thought writing your New Year’s Resolution was going to be easy!
So How Does This Relate To My Work?
Simply put, we don’t have to wait until December 31st to make ourselves promises. Truth be told, we’re doing it every day. With our Organizations, our Departments, and our Careers. However if we don’t take the SMART approach our everyday resolutions will end up just like our New Year’s Resolutions, unfulfilled and rife with frustration.
What can you do to start hitting your target and enjoying your career with a higher success rate?