Last year I came to the conclusion that resolutions are dumb – It’s always been more like choosing 1 thing that you would like to accomplish, then making yourself feel guilty for not doing it.
I learned a lot as the year went on, and one key area was in setting goals. I learned that setting a start date, i.e. Jan. 1, to start pursuing your goal is pointless. If you want to do it, do it now. If you’re going to sit on it until some arbitrary day, you don’t really want it. With that lesson learned, I started taking better care of myself, one not-so-memorable day sometime last year. I started flossing my teeth regularly, eating healthier, avoiding sugar, and even exercising.
Another lesson was how to recognize what I really want to accomplish. Setting goals that will require a constant battle with my (lazy) self are doomed to fail, because deep down, I haven’t decided that I really want it. In the past, I decided to start running regularly in order to get in shape. The problem is I hate running. The novelty of doing something new wore off quickly. I remembered that I hate running, and forced myself to get out there reluctantly, until a week later when I stopped completely.
The next lesson I learned was how to set goals in a way that I could mentally grasp exactly what needed to be done. If you’ve heard of SMART goals… that’s pretty much what it is: Goals that are Specific, Measured, Attainable, Realistic, and Timed. “Get in shape” give me nothing really to visualize, and is really impossible to achieve – no matter how much better I get, I can always do more. But “weigh 165 lbs.” is something I can see, and I can think of the benefits, and the steps it will take to get there.
So with all that, I sat down with Liz on New Year’s Eve, and talked about what exactly we wanted to accomplish by the end of 2012. In about 15 minutes we both came up with a list of about 12 things. I uploaded mine to accomp.sh, to keep track of my progress and keep me accountable. These are things I was going to do anyway, regardless of the actual January 1 start day, so I feel confident that these resolutions will actually be done.