It’s the end of 2005. Another 365 days of life experiences. The completion of a cycle of seasons. And the beginning of a new year, filled with hope and possibility.
Of course this also is resolution-time. December 31st. When people make all kinds of pledges… to exercise regularly, lose those pounds, to refrain from favorite vices. Unfortunately your promises are likely to fall by the wayside rather quickly unless you forget about making resolutions. Instead set smart goals and give yourself a better opportunity to succeed.
As sincere as your spirit might be, talk is cheap. Protestations of positive but vague improvement give you very little direction. To maximize your own development, you need a plan.
Schedule two, 30 minute meetings with yourself in the coming week. These can easily take place in your office or home but consider doing at least the first ‘session’ in a more unique setting. Pick a location that inspires you.
Since I am fortunate to live near the Pacific Ocean, for me it’s an early morning walk on the beach. The sights, the sounds and smells of the sea are as humbling and comforting as they are motivating and invigorating. You might find your inspiration during a hike in the mountains, a quiet walk in the snow, or on a Harley, perhaps a Jacuzzi or bubble bath. The point is to help yourself feel calm and relaxed, and to draw in all your senses.
The purpose of the initial 30 minute ‘meeting’ is to consider the things you want to improve in your life. What do you wish for in 2006? It’s okay to dream and have lofty ideas but then whittle your plan down for the coming year. In other words, be realistic about what is reasonable for you to accomplish in the next 12 months. You might want to take a small notebook or tape recorder to capture your thoughts.
The second 30 minute period is dedicated to translating your images, words, ideas from session #1 into specific, measurable behaviors that have a finite time frame. These are concrete action steps that you are willing to commit time and effort to do. Enter these goals into your electronic or paper calendar as a testament to the self-contract you are making. Post a copy of your plan on your computer with its own icon so you’ll have quick access to it during the day. The more you remind yourself of your commitment, the greater your likelihood of success.
Remember, set yourself up to achieve your plan by using SMART goals.
- Make your goals specific.
- Describe goals in measurable terms.
- Establish the actions that will enable you to accomplish your goal.
- Be realistic.
- Set time frames for goal achievement.
To track your progress, it is important to evaluate yourself periodically. A good span of time tends to be 30 days, or one month. Review your goals and the commitments you made for behavioral change. Be objective when you assess yourself. If you are courageous, ask others for feedback to know if you are working on the right action steps.
By dedicating a little time to design a viable plan you’ll be putting yourself in a much better position to get where you want to go.
Wishing all of you a healthy, happy and SMART New Year!
Dr. Haller is available for consultation, coaching and facilitating your Team Retreat. Let her help you with your 2006 goals. She can be reached at email@example.com
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