Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Goals are dreams with deadlines." -- Diana Scharf Hunt

Setting & Keeping New Year's Resolutions
By Molly from Smart Pretty & Awkward

I'm all about goals, planning, the future-- I am always making & updating plans for 3 months, 6 months, & 1 year out.  I would make plans for 5 years out, but I'm practical enough to know that the longer-out the goal is, the more likely it will not happen as my short-term goals are always changing! Below are my steps that I follow when making, updating, & refining resolutions.

Step One: Making Resolutions
To make a New Year's resolution, think about your life currently. I like to divide my life into segments: Career, Financial Health, Personal Health, Beauty, Relationships, Friendships, and My Blog. Tailor your segments to what makes sense for your life (maybe School would substitute for Career, or a different hobby for Blogging, for example). Most of us naturally compartmentalize our lives, but this is a way of consciously doing so.

In each section, I like to think about where I am now, & where I want to be going, i.e. what do I like about my job? What do I want to improve in my relationship? What is realistic and tangible for each of these goals?

I won't bore you with my choices for each category, but needless to say there are things I like & things I want to improve on for each. I'm careful to say improve on, rather than dislike, because a dislike is essentially just something that needs an upgrade or a change to make it a like.

Step Two: Keeping Resolutions
There are three keys to keeping New Year's Resolutions.

The first is writing down goals for easy reference, & also because writing down goals makes them seem more "real." I save all of my goals in a Google document, so I can see what my goals were for the past few years & the updates I made as I went along. Before I made my 2011 goals, I checked in with my original 2010 & 2009 goals to see what I was working on in years past.

The second key to keeping a New Years Resolution is frequent check-ins on goals progress throughout the year: daily, weekly, monthly &/or quarterly check-ins. I do personal check-ins on my progress almost daily, & always weekly.

The third is sharing your goals with others who can help you. One of my closest friends is a health guru, and we shared our nutrition goals with each other to keep each other on track via weekly emails (she lives in another state). Another close friend is in a similar spot in her career as me, although a different industry, so we frequently talk about career and job goals. My boyfriend and I shared our goals for our relationship, because it is important to us that we keep working to improve it. & finally, my mom is on board to listen & give feedback on my financial goals.

Step Three: Refining Resolutions
After goals are set, they might need refining or updating throughout the year. My birthday & my half-birthday are the two times a year when I modify my goals list and see if a resolution need to be tweaked. If the goal is achieved early in the year, maybe a new goal need to take its place (Get a Better Job changes to Get an Excellent 6-Month Performance Review at New Job, for example).

& of course, don't forget to celebrate with pals when one of your goal is reached!

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