The Solution To Your Resolution: Two Big Tips For Meeting Your Goals This Year

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Now that we’re half a month into the new year, it’s the perfect time to assess how you’re doing on any goals you set yourself for 2018. Do you “keep meaning to” send out job applications? Are you killin’ it in the gym? How’s your progress on your “to read in 2018” list? What’s working and what isn’t?

If you’ve already hit a wall, don’t worry--you aren’t alone. Ninety-two percent of people don’t meet their New Year’s resolutions.  But we’re the eight percenters--we’re here because we are putting active effort toward bettering ourselves, right? So here’s a secret for getting on track: S.M.A.R.T. goals. That stands for goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and timely. You’re far more likely to be successful if your big goals are broken into smaller parts, and S.M.A.R.T. goals are a really clear and simple way to achieve that. Here’s an example: many people make a goal or resolution that involves their job in some way. For this exercise, let’s say the broad goal is: “I want a new job this year.” Here’s how you’d break that down into a S.M.A.R.T. goal:

Specific: I will figure out what jobs use my skills and pay a living wage for my circumstances, regularly seek them out, and apply for them in order to be in a new job within a year.

Measurable: I will apply to a minimum of two jobs per week, and track this in a notebook or document to keep myself accountable.

Actionable: I will go on at least one interview a month. I will also let my friends and family know what kind of job I am looking for, attend networking events in my city, and talk to other professionals in my field to see what I can improve to have the best chance of being hired.

Relevant: Finding a new job allows me to live a better life now, sets me up for success in future years, and allows me to lend my strengths to a business I believe in.

Timely: I will be in my new job by January 2019.

Studies say we are far, far more likely to achieve our goals when they are set in a specific and challenging (but not impossible) way. Writing them down communicates that you mean business and that these things matter to you, and that translates into action much more often than just thinking about what we’d like to achieve.

Another idea to keep in mind is choice architecture, or physically changing how things are viewed. If you want to remember to jump rope when you get home every day, put the jump rope on your entry table. If you want to eat healthier, hide the cookies. In our job example from above, you could leave the notebook you’re using to tracking applications on your nightstand. Basically, “out of sight, out of mind” is still true, but so is its inverse: “within sight, within mind.”

These tips are just two simple ways to start 2018 off well and with intention. After all, success is often just as much about the journey as it is the destination. The habits and behaviors we practice either support or undermine us, so it's important to prioritize the things that will move us forward in 2018. Let's go after our best life!


If you’re interested in more articles like this, check out this article about making the most of the new year.