Be SMART and you can achieve your New Year’s Resolutions!

Neil Goudge, author of Break Free Go Contracting

Blogger and author Neil Goudge

In this guest post Morgan PR client, blogger and author of Break Free Go Contracting, Neil Goudge reveals the best way to fulfil your resolutions!

I love New Year. It’s a chance to think about what you’ve achieved in the previous year and what you can do in the year ahead. It’s the start of something new and potentially something different. I take great care with my resolutions but have to admit that sometimes, like everyone, I don’t achieve them!

But there’s nothing to stop you being really clear and definitive about your resolutions in order to give you the best chance of achieving them. Many of you will have come across the acronym SMART when objective setting but New Year is a great time to put it into practise for yourself.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based (although you’ll find various versions around!).

Best illustrated by an example, instead of saying “I will lose weight”, a SMART objective would be “I will lose 3kg by the end of March”. It’s specific, to do with your weight, it’s measurable, because you can stand on a set of scales and know where you start from and know exactly what your target is, whether it’s achievable is dependent on you – I’ll come on to this, it’s relevant because you’ve prioritised this over a whole load of other things you could be doing and it’s time based, because you know you need to do this by the end of March.

Back to the achievable bit – this is where the plan to achieve your objective becomes important. It’s all very well defining clearly your resolutions but you have to work out a plan that makes it achievable and this is where a lot of people fall short. So if you’ve never lost 3kgs in 3 months before, you will need a good, solid set of activities to ensure you get there.

The plan should also be SMART and might look like:

  • Exercise 3 times a week by running 30 minutes in the evening
  • Swim 2 times a week doing 50 lengths of a 25m pool
  • Drink less by cutting out all alcohol during the week
  • Eat better by eating less fatty food each week

The measurable bit should be that you weigh yourself each week and have a chart that shows your progress to your goal. If you don’t lose weight in the first 2 weeks, you know you have to do more in the following weeks. Each week you’ll get to know how on track you are towards achieving your goal.

You can apply this kind of approach to any of your resolutions.

Changing jobs or career is something that a lot of people decide they are going to do at New Year. People change jobs an average of 7 times more in their lifetime than a couple of decades ago. The same approach outlined above applies to this. You need to very clearly define what you are going to do and when you’re going to do it by but it has to be supported by a detailed plan that will make it achievable.

Forbes have a great article on this called “11 New Year’s Resolutions that will jump start your career”

My good friend Simon Wilkinson has some practical advice at www.practicalpmo.com worth checking out.

To really think about what you need to do before you change jobs, take a look at www.theundercoverrecruiter.com and check out their article on the Top 10 things to do before you change jobs

And, it’s a few years old but still relevant, 10 great reasons to change jobs. 

If you want to read more into the subject of objective setting, there are some great websites that really help in this area too. I like the simple method outlined by www.mindtools.com. (click on Toolkit, Time Management and Personal Goal Setting). There’s lots of useful stuff on this website about goal setting.

Happy New Year to everyone – let’s get those objectives achieved this year. One of mine was to have some guest blogs posted to thanks to Morgan PR!