Every year, I hear people discussing their New Year’s Resolutions and I can understand why people decide to set them and why they choose January 1st to start their quest. However, I have never been able to jump on board with this tradition.
It’s not that I am ‘better than that’ or don’t have any changes in mind for my life. I simply think that if I have a change to make, I am going to make it NOW!
While others are deciding in early to mid-December about what they want to change (or what the media tells them to change), I’ve got a 2 week head start. More likely, it is a larger advantage than that, because the moment I feel unhealthy, behind in my work, or overburdened, I can adjust my schedule and make a change to include a new behavior.
The definition of resolution is “A firm decision to do or not to do something“. Why do we have to wait until the first day of a new year?
How About Goals?
The majority of businesses (especially small ones) chart their fiscal year from January 1st to December 31st. Most personal calendars work this same way as well. Goals are much better positioned to be set in a given year.
Revenues, salaries & budgets are all set in the fiscal year (or quarters, but we are talking years today). It makes sense to set goals within the constraints of your revenues, salaries and budgets, right?
Of course, you can set new goals at any time – and I recommend that you do, if:
- You don’t have any goals set yet and it is not near the beginning of your fiscal year.
- You have beat your goals already, and it is not near the new goal setting period.
- You have overwhelmingly under-performed your goals (see goal setting)
The definition of goal (in our context) is “the result or achievement towardwhich effort is directed“.
How do you go about setting your goals? There are quite a few ways. For me, it is always a list that I feel is attainable within the year. Most goals require some effort, but should not be out of reach.
I recommend that you use the SMART technique; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Search SMART on Google.com for many writeups on how to do this.
My Interesting Conclusion
I have always found that goals, written down and kept handy, are the best way to ensure consistent growth in your business and personal life. Keep them handy and visible, such as pinned to a wall, PC desktop image, the default homepage on your browser, etc.
I claim that my conclusion is ‘interesting‘ for this unintentional, unconscious result. A few years ago, I created a list of items I wanted to accomplish on a yellow legal pad. It was not titled as a set of goals, but they were just that. Then, I promptly lost that pad. A little over a year later, I found this pad and its list. As I looked down the list, I realized that I had accomplished over 75% of the ‘goals’ on that list.
Simply writing down the ideas in my head may have been the thing to push me forward and complete those goals.
What about you?
Do you prefer Goals or Resolutions? Do you wait until a certain point to start a resolution, or dive right in? Do you set goals for your business and personal life each year? Have you in the past and did it work? Let me know in the comments below!
Definition Source: Dictionary.com