It’s 2023, and I’m hoping you are making some New Year’s Resolutions. I’m also hoping that you’ve decided to put into action some of my suggestions for your plans for retirement.
Actually, whether the changes you want to make deal with Retirement or Transitions in Life, I’ve found a two-part solution to help you succeed.
I’m excited about my research because I’m just as guilty as you are when it comes to keeping promises to self. Last year I sincerely and optimistically promised myself several things. Here’s a peek at whether I stuck to them:
4. No way!
5. Ugh, maybe next year!
I’ve decided that one of the major problems with keeping resolutions is the word itself. It’s vague and offers very little motivation. Sure, it means ‘finding a solution to a conflict or a problem.’ But just knowing what the challenge is doesn’t really make you stick to your promises. Right? Consider these:
1 – I’m going to lose weight and exercise more.
2 – I will spend time with friends outside of work.
3 – I will make time to do what I really enjoy doing.
And here’s how - after a week or two – you rationalized:
1 – “But I can’t go to the gym today - it’s raining!”
2 – “So what if I went to the game with Tony from HR – he’s funny!”
3 – “I know I used to like photography, but now it’s all electronic!”
Enter the Solution - Part One: Instead of calling these promises ‘New Year’s Resolutions,’ let’s call them NEW YEAR’S GOALS. Think about it.
GOALS are specific, and GOALS have a timeline that requires immediate attention!
But maybe you are thinking, how does just changing the name make me stick to my promises? The answer is Part Two: Make your New Year’s Goals into S.M.A.R.T. Goals.
The term “SMART Goals” refers to the acronym developed by businessmen George Doran, Arthur Miller and James Cunningham in their 1981 article, “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management Goals and Objectives.” Turning your resolutions into SMART goals will help you find the focus and motivation to follow through.
Here's what the letters mean:
S = SPECIFIC
M = MEASURABLE
A = ACHIEVEABLE
R = REALISTIC
T = TIMELY
So, your New Year’s Goals now will read:
1 – Starting January 1st, I’m going to lose 5 pounds in
6 weeks on the Weight Watcher’s diet.
2 – At least once a week I’m going to make plans to get together with
Fred and Emily, the Wilsons, or our new next-door neighbors.
3 – By the 15th I will begin guitar lessons once a week with
Dave or Jonathan.
Since goals are Specific, Achievable, and Realistic, you are already halfway there. For the Measurable part – keep a journal to track your progress along the way. And certainly, one of the most important considerations is Timeliness. Choose a specific date by which you feel you can accomplish the challenge. Then, get started!
Apply this strategy to whatever problem or transition you want to work through, and you’ll achieve your goals – and maybe feel a little like a smart-y pants!
Happy New Year,