Revolutions Resolutions are taking a bad rap.
The new year is a time of renewal and you have a whole 12 months ahead to accomplish what you know you can! In theory, they are great! But we all know that by March, we’ve forgotten about what we wanted and are back to our usual habits. This year, so many people I know aren’t even setting a resolution because nobody sticks to them anyways so they’re useless. Let’s end the streak! This year, don’t think of it as a resolution – think of it as a goal (that’s what it really is anyways). And set it up as a SMART goal! This is a proven method that we are fans of here at the credit union for both personal goals and work goals. You may have heard of it before…
Specific Measurable Adjustable Realistic Time-Oriented
Let’s say your resolution is to save money and your plan is to try to remember to put extra in savings when you can. You might end the year with enough to get that new flavor of gum you’ve been eyeing at the grocery store checkout. Yes!
No. Here’s how to make that resolution SMART.
- Make a plan. Not just to save the extra, but a specific plan. I will look at my budget in January to see what I can cut out. I will add an extra line item for the amount I can save monthly. I’ll set up an automatic transfer at my credit union for that amount to be sent to a savings every month/paycheck.
- As part of the specificness (why isn’t that a word?) of your goal, set measures. By June, I’ll have $300 in my savings. By the end of the year, I’ll have $1,000.
- Check back in with the goals you’ve written often to make sure you’re on track. Things happen, so if you’re a little behind, don’t stop! Adjust where needed and keep plugging away. Or maybe you check in and see that you’re right on track or even ahead of schedule. Celebrate! (with something free or on the cheap, of course)
- Make sure this is a realistic goal for you. Just because your friend doesn’t have rent or bills and is able to save up enough for a new car in a year, doesn’t mean that should be your goal. Or that your $300 doesn’t matter. Focus on the awesomeness that you are accomplishing.
- It’s important to set times or we’ll get stuck in that “I’ll start next paycheck” cycle and never really start. Since you’re jazzed now, get it all going and set times for each of the small steps in your plan to be completed.
- Not related to any of the letters in SMART, but just as important to me is writing it down and telling people. If it’s down on paper, you can check back in, keep track, and it’s a real goal instead of something floating around in your head with all the other crazy stuff in there. And when you tell people, not only are you extra accountable, but you have someone to share the excitement with! You made it to $100? Woohoo! Tell your mom! Or your best friend! Or your dog!
Even though resolutions might have become somewhat of a joke, goals are the real deal and everyone needs some! Good luck with yours! What is your
resolution goal this year?