This archived article was written by: Kara Heaton
“I hate New Year’s resolutions,” is what lot of
people say this time of year. Why is that? Because
people hate looking at their faults. New Year’s resolutions
are a personal thing. Usually, we plan to either
stop doing something we do not want to do, or to
start something we want to do. It is an opportunity
to transform our lives for the better. Awareness of
what we want to do for a New Year’s resolution is
the first step.
First of all, if you are making resolutions, make
sure you put as much time and effort into planning
out your resolutions as you do in carrying them out.
A lot of people spend so much time planning what
resolutions they are going to make, that by the time
they get to those resolutions, they are sick of them
and have no motivation.
There is a goal setting strategy called S.M.A.R.T.
S.M.A.R.T stands for specifi c, measurable, attainable,
realistic and timely. If you can remember those
fi ve words and apply them to setting goals, you will
always be successful.
Being specifi c in your goal making simply means
being straightforward. Focus your efforts and clearly
defi ne what you want to accomplish when setting
your goal. Be specifi c and know how, what, and
why you want to create and meet that goal.
Setting measurable goals means choosing a goal
in which you can see the changing process. How
will you determine when you have reached your
goal? Be specifi c! For example, if you want to lose
weight, do not set a goal for losing 50 pounds in the
next two months. Start gradually and then increase
the goal you have set once you have reached it. Try
and be more realistic by setting a goal to lose maybe
10 pounds in two months.
A goal needs to stretch you slightly so you feel
you can do it and it will need a real commitment
from you. Setting attainable goals not only goes
along with physically being able to accomplish your
goal, but also along with fi nancial ability and skills
required. If you’ve never taken an art class in your
life and you’re a poor college student, don’t set a
goal to paint a masterpiece.
Realistic goal setting is not another word for
“easy.” In this case, realistic means “do-able.” The
best way to make a goal do-able is to have a plan.
Just make sure you set the standard high enough so
that you are actually working towards something
If you really want to set a goal and accomplish
it, give yourself a timeline. This gives you a clear
target to work towards, making it a lot easier to accomplish.
Without a timeline, your goal is indistinct
and you won’t feel the need to sit down and start
going towards your goal.
A big problem that people face when making
resolutions is that they try to set so many goals that
they are impossible to accomplish. One tip is do
not set too many goals, because if you do, you will
fi nd that many of them will never happen. Also, do
not try to set a goal that is unreachable. Instead of
setting goals that are impossible to reach, try some
that are much more plausible.
Now, something that can be good to try is breaking
a bad habit you have found yourself getting into.
Maybe you hear people are bothered by your profanity
and feel like you should try to not swear so much.
Make a goal that you will decrease the profanity
that you use. To encourage this goal, try to carry
something around with you that will remind you of
that goal. It can be an accessory that you can carry
on your key chain, in your pocket or on your fi nger
that will remind you to stop swearing.
Another thing that tends to be helpful is having
someone to help you accomplish your goals. If working
out is something you want to do, try and find
someone to go with, that way you made someone
else pushing you to do it instead of just yourself.
It is much easier to get something done when you
have someone else to do it with you. Also, if you
are trying to stop a habit, tell your friends you made
that goal, and they will remind you if you are not
accomplishing your goal. Having a friendly reminder
from someone can make all the difference.
So what other types of goals should we be setting,
besides trying to make ourselves better or fi x a bad
habit? Some really good goals we could set would
be ones that will make the world a better place now
and for our posterity. Setting a goal to recycle more
often is a great way of doing this. There are so many
things that we throw away that can be recycled; I
know because there is a huge, long list of those items
under my calendar at home. I know that you probably
do not want to do that when you are at college; there
is not really any place to put the recycled items, and
with the hectic college lifestyle, there is not really
time to take the items to a recycling center once you
get enough to make it worth the effort.
There are other goals you can make to make
the world a better place. You could decide not to
buy water bottles anymore (they take a long time to
decompose and so the land fi lls are full of them), or
you could decide to fi nally register to vote and fi gure
out which candidate is the right one for you, or you
could get the best education you can, then encourage
your children to do the same, or decide to carpool
to school and work, take shorter showers, or turn
off lights as you leave the room. They can be big if
you want (as long as you keep them reasonable, of
course), or minor as simple as turning off the water
while you brush your teeth.
Always remember to set goals to accomplish, but
do not be so obnoxious that there is no way of completing
all the goals you are trying to do. There are
ups and downs to setting goals just like everything
else. Do not try to set too steep of a goal, or you
will only fall short and become
discouraged. Try to fi nd someone
to help you out; one person
can make all the difference.
And fi nally, make sure
you make goals not
only for yourself,
but also for your