Resolutions. Most people set them, then forget them. The problem with resolutions is that it’s socially acceptable to give up on them by the second week of January. If you don’t plan to begin working on your New Year’s resolutions until after New Year’s Day, maybe they weren’t really that important to you anyway. Another problem is that setting resolutions is usually indicative of procrastination … it’s an easy way to delay getting started on your goals.
Resolutions are usually all or nothing propositions. Nothing in life works that way, though, does it? Very, very few things are all or nothing. Most are just a matter of degrees. Couple this problem with how most of us set resolutions far too big and you have all the makings of giving up by January 5th.
Resolutions also tend to be negative and these negative resolutions have a smaller chance of success because we’re wired to DO something rather than to NOT do something. So …
Set goals instead of resolutions
A real goal is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time based, the old acronym SMART. You’ve probably heard that one. But taking it a step further, I believe there are only four goals you can concentrate on at once.
- A financial goal
- A physical goal
- An emotional goal
- A mental goal
Why? This time of year, we experience resolution overload. By limiting your goals to four (at a time) you’ll have a much better chance of success! But even further than that, I believe you should have two major goals and two minor goals at one time. By limiting your focus to these four, I believe you can concentrate your efforts and actually change those goals into achievements.
You can always set another goal once you achieve one, but that’s really who and what you are: a goal achieving machine.
Financial goals help you get your finances in order. The beauty of financial goals is that they can help you in the other areas (mental, emotional, physical) when you achieve them. Your financial goals could include:
- Establishing a realistic budget and sticking to it.
- Balancing your checking account every week.
- Paying off your high interest debts.
- Contributing the maximum to your retirement accounts.
- Paying off your mortgage.
- Reviewing your insurance needs and making any needed changes.
- Saving a specific amount each month for your children’s college education.
- Employing one or more of the 17 Sneaky Savings Strategies!
- Starting a high interest savings account for your kids or for a specific purpose (vacation, car, home improvement)
Physical goals are things that will improve your body in some way. They could include:
- Drink 8 glasses of filtered water daily.
- Eat 5 servings of fresh fruits or vegetables daily.
- Do cardio exercise three times per week for at least 30 minutes each time.
- Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep at least 5 times per week.
- Perform a resistance workout three times per week.
- Ride your bike to work!
- Replace your smoking habit with an exercise habit.
- Lose one (just one!) pound per week by eating right and exercising.
Emotional goals deal with how you interact with others. They could include:
- Forgiving someone who has wronged you and moving on from there by just letting go of the bitterness.
- Recognizing the efforts of others (spouse, children, co-workers) and telling them how much you appreciate their contributions to your life.
- Starting a regular “date night” with your spouse or children.
- Opening up to someone you trust about your innermost fears, concerns, feelings, and aspirations.
- Living a life with more adventure by taking that trip you’ve been dreaming about.
Mental goals are specific, conscious decisions to to do something to stimulate your brain! They could include:
- Reading one book that’s been sitting on your nightstand for the last 7 months.
- Joining a professional association and actually attending meetings and participating.
- Taking a course on a subject that interests you … and leaves you with a little more wisdom.
- Making a conscious decision to learn something new about a culture or belief system different than your own.
- Deciding to finish your degree, especially if you’ve regretted NOT finishing.
The most important thing is to set specific goals that you can attain. Get a journal and keep up with your progress and don’t be afraid to let me and everyone else know what you’ve been able to accomplish. I’ll be your biggest cheerleader!
[tags]resolutions, New Year’s, success, goals, online degree, lose weight, exercise, savings, retirement, relationships[/tags]