We've all been there. Big Ben bongs, Champagne glasses clink and as the final strands of Auld Lang Syne disappear into the horizon your thoughts turn to the New Year. This year.
This year I'm going to...
My New Year's Resolution is to...
As T.S. Eliot said: “To make an end is to make a beginning.” It's a blank canvas: a fresh start. As of 00:00 on 1st January 2014 you can be or do anything you want to, (which may or may not be precipitated by the aforementioned Champagne!)
But all too often we find ourselves making grand declarations: “I'm going to go for a run five times a week,” without the ability to follow it through. So how do you make a decent resolution and actually stick to it? That's where SMART comes in:
Make your resolution/s specific – focus on what it is you would actually like to achieve. Want to see more of your friends in 2014? Your goal could be to put a date in the calendar each month to see a certain friend.
How will you measure whether you are achieving/have achieved your objective? A resolution to get more exercise is no doubt up there in the top ten but it's not possible to measure as there are no clear parameters. In this case “more exercise” could be anything from attending the gym once, (once more than 2013!), or 365 times in the year. Planning to exercise for at least 90 minutes every week is a much more measurable goal.
It may seem obvious but is your objective actually achievable? One of the most common resolutions is to be more organised – with a specific goal in mind this is certainly possible. Becoming a INTJ when you're an ESFP is simply not achievable – while we can change our behaviour, (taking some tips from a “J” on how better to organise your workload), we cannot change our personality. Give yourself attainable goals and come December 2014 you should be raising a glass to the changes you have made.
I'd love to have a book published in 2014. I'd like to learn the didgeridoo just to say I can play it, (new resolution – find something interesting to talk about at parties). My husband would love to have dinner with Bill Murray. All great aspirations: all pretty unrealistic. A goal may be physically achievable – “I'm going to give up all unhealthy food for a year” – but in reality will you be able to stick to it? Give yourself the best possible chance of keeping your resolutions by making them realistic.
Determined to quit smoking or another habit this year? Make sure you have a timeframe in which to work - “by April I will have...” Give yourself small, realistic milestones and an end date – that way you can see how the results of your efforts are paying off.
My final word of advice? Good luck, happy resolution-ing and please do make the odd “learn to play the didgeridoo” promise – after all, the S in SMART doesn't stand for sensible...
This is a guest post by Claire Murfitt.
Claire loves reading, writing, music, football and indie movies and describes herself as warm, creative, excitable and impulsive, (a typical ENFP).
Visit her website at www.claire-e.com