Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Resolutions, or just GOOD Goals?

We’re around two full months into 2013. How are your New Year’s resolutions going?

Not so good? Don’t worry, you're not alone.

Breaking our New Years' resolutions seems to be a national pastime. This may not be the first time you’ve watched New Year’s resolutions go down in flames before your calendar turned to March - or even February!

Rather than beating ourselves up over broken resolutions, let’s look instead at how we can make positive and necessary changes a lasting force in our life. Here are some ideas on setting and keeping goals:

When you set a goal, tell someone about it. Simply knowing that others are aware of your goal might keep you on the right track to achieve it. Tell a spouse or a colleague; post it on Facebook or Twitter; write it in an email to your siblings; or, make a bold move and write a professional goal in your company’s newsletter. Peer pressure can work wonders even (or, especially) for adults.

In addition to telling others, be sure you write it down. A journal or notebook works fine, but think about other places that might serve as active reminders. Write your financial savings goal on a sticky note stuck to your ATM card so you see it each time you make a purchase. Write your healthy diet goal on a piece of paper under a magnet on your fridge so you are reminded each time you choose a bite to eat. Write your commitment to more family time on a note by your computer monitor so a board game or bedtime book with your kids doesn’t get intercepted by after-dinner web-surfing.

Finally, when setting your goal, be specific. “Working out more” or “spending more time with family” or “eating healthier” are excellent, worthy goals – but what do they mean? Pledge to a reasonable, practical, and achievable change that you can clearly define for yourself. Change the elusive, too-broad goals to things that you can quantify, like these: “work out 3 times a week for an hour”; ”eat 3 servings of vegetables each day”; ”play games twice a week for at least an hour with the entire family”.

Goals that are shared with others, written down, and include the right amount of details give us something to measure. And more importantly, they give us something to CELEBRATE when they’re achieved!