We’re coming up to Christmas and all the business that brings. We start to put off plans and thoughts for the New Year. Why? Because a New Year being a New Start!
Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution? What’s your record? Five? Six days? A couple of weeks, maybe? The fact that you did it for that long shows you can. You quit smoking for a week? You gave up chips for 3 days? You gave up soda for 2 weeks? You were right when you said “I think I can”, but you couldn’t keep going. Why not? Maybe you didn’t have enough motivational posters of people standing on mountaintops and zippy quotes like “Life at the top of the mountain, because you thought you could!” or something else equally cheesy like, I don’t know, maybe you needed a smart goal?
Specific – Quit smoking!
Measurable – Zero cigarettes for the rest of my life!
Attainable – Yeah, I went 16 years without smoking and tons of my friends don’t smoke!
Relevant – My health is going to suffer, I want to be healthy – this is the first step.
Time Bound – To infinity and beyond.
So, you’ve got your motivational picture of a someone on top of a mountain which is symbolic of your no smoking goal. You’ve got your SMART goal. It’s coming up to New Year’s Eve, and you have the perfect way to change your life – New Year, New You! You’ve even posted on Facebook that this is an era of “NEW ME!” What can possibly go wrong?
Been there before? I have. There you are, January 15th, half way through a pack of cigarettes you bought the night before after you had too much to drink (which you said you would never do again) and you’re feeling down on yourself. But, but… the mountain – and the little train. I thought I could. And suddenly your whole identity as a mentally strong, focused and goal-oriented individual dissipates into the air, and instead of exercising you get out the ice cream and prepare for a Netflix binge session. I think I can make it though six hours of Netflix and a tub of ice cream before bedtime. Yeah, I am 100% certain of this. And I’m right. Buzzed on sugar until 2am and an early morning with a Netflix hangover – hit that one right out of the park and didn’t even have a SMART goal.
So what went wrong, and more importantly, how can you fix it next time?
Tune in next time for the answer. For now though…
Here are the three takeaways for today:
1 – It’s easy to create a goal. Even a well-planned, meticulous one. The problem is we plan for success, we don’t factor in failure.
2 – A New You doesn’t have to wait for a New Year. By putting off your goal for some magical marker, you are telling yourself it isn’t important enough to work on immediately.
3 – You don’t need a SMART goal – You just need a daily goal. Today I will achieve “ABC” and I will be closer to where I want to be.
If you want a SMART goal I am not saying it’s a bad thing (although I sort of am, I’m not a fan). I am saying that it isn’t needed. We will naturally achieve the things we see as important – the trick is making that thing we want to achieve important enough that it becomes a focus. We’ll talk more about that in the next post.
You can read Part II of this trilogy here.
And Part III is here.
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