It is that time of year again!.  soon, gym parking lots will be full, weight loss programs will be thriving, Nicorette gum will fly off the shelves and 12 step programs will be filled to capacity.  Why you ask?  It is that time of year when most people make “new year resolutions”.

I used to join the masses but in the last few years I decided to go a different way.  In my case, and from what I have observed, new year resolutions generally DO NOT WORK!!  They typically last anywhere from a few days to a few months, then………failure.

It is my belief that unless one sets a GOAL out of the desired outcome, very little happens.  Not just any goal but a SMART goal.  For years I  have studied the psychology of goal setting and here’s what I have learned.  Goals must be:

  • SPECIFIC – Goals must be specific.  Meaning we can’t say I want to make a lot of money next year.  How much?  Is that gross revenue or net revenue?  Generally, good questions to ask ourselves at this point are:  who, what, where, how, when, and most importantly te big why.
  • MEASURABLE – How are we going to measure this goal?  Perhaps in the example of making a specific amount next year, a quarterly review might be a good reality check.  Are we on target?  DO we need to modify our efforts, behaviors or work ethic in order to stay on target?
  • ATTAINABLE – Once we establish specifics and measurement mechanisms; incremental achievements, when tracked will get us closer to our goal and we start seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.  But that only happens when we laser-focus on the outcome and don’t deviate.
  • REALISTIC – Goals must be realistic yet they must also stretch us and motivate us to work hard.  Weak goals are generally easy to reach and leave us unmotivated and vulnerable to deviation from plan.
  • TIMELY – Goals MUST have a deadline.  The motivation, sense of urgency, creativity and hard work come out when have a “due date”.  Think back at a time we you did your best work under deadlines.

Goals are meant to keep us focused and achieve levels we never accomplished before.  If we set a goal with a deadline and achieve that goal before the deadline, a new goal MUST be set immediately.  Say for example your goal was making $100,000 next year by December 31, 2014.  What happens when you reach $100,000 by October?  Answer is reset the goal and to $120,000 and keep going.

What if we set a goal for that same $100,000 and by December 31, 2014 we “only” made $90,000?  Reset the goal for next year.  Making adjustments along the way is also key, this falls under the MEASURABLE part of SMART.

Happy new year my friends and forget about New Year Resolutions and set those SMART GOALS!