It’s that time of the year again. Now that you’ve written your Annual Review, it’s time to bundle your thoughts together and look forward to the new year.
Chances are, you know how to make a standard list, and may or may not have accomplished them (provided that you even remember your list).
I’m not going to try to reinvent the wheel, but instead point out some new ways of writing our that set of “resolutions” and strongly suggesting resolutions that should make it to your list this year.
If you’re looking for a new take on the New Year’s Resolutions list, this is the post for you.
1) SMART Goals
SMART = Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Bound (and other variations).
That means instead of writing down something vague like “Exercise more,” write down “Get to the gym twice a week to run for 30-minutes. ”
As my consulting friend (harhar) mentioned, once you start tracking specific metrics, it’s much easier to understand problems / solutions.
2) January, February, March…December Resolutions
Instead of jotting down your resolutions for the ENTIRE year on a piece of paper and then forgetting about where that piece of paper resides in two weeks, write a set of resolutions for just January.
And when January 31st rolls about, write a set of resolutions for February. Repeat some more.
This allows you to figure out how good you are at keeping them on a more regular basis, rather than getting that wake up call in December: Aw shucks, still didn’t study more this past year.
Besides, if you’re only going to resolve to do something for a month, you cut away a bit of the anxiety that comes with the finality of a year-long set of resolutions.
3) Resolutions should involve changes rather than continuances
Pardon me for the lame title, but if you’re a hard worker, don’t put down “Work hard!” as a resolution because you’re going to continue to work hard with or without that resolution.
Similarly, I shouldn’t put “Be more productive! (By doing xyz by abc and re-assessing at time t.)” because this is something I naturally do. It doesn’t mean much that you’ve kept to your resolutions if you knew you were going to keep them in the first place.
Instead, figure out areas that cry out for changes. For instance, I struggle with over-commitment. I over-commit and get really grumpy. If I don’t resolve to make a change, then chances are, I’ll fall into the trap of over-committing for yet another year.
3) Resolutions you should consider adding
If you’re a crazy Harvard student or suffering from over-achieving syndrome, consider:
- Spending more time with friends
- Saying “no” more often
- Committing to fewer responsibilities
- Making time for yourself
- Relax more
- So on and so forth
However long your list, make sure you designate 3 of them as your most important resolutions. Regardless of how you organize your list, memories are fleeting, and it’s easier to keep on track if you put more of your energy into the resolutions that matter to you most.