Ditch Resolutions for Goals & Start Seeing Results
"we’re all determined to make the following year different,
achieve something specific,
or perhaps be a little different"
New Years is the time when most people sit back and reflect on the year that has been, perhaps get a little sad but then find some tissues, light a fire up their own arse and set some resolutions for the following year. At this time of year we’re all determined to make the following year different, achieve something specific or perhaps be a little different.
Not me – don’t get me wrong, I currently have a fire up my arse but I just don’t “do” resolutions. Why? I learnt a while ago that they simply don’t work for me and I have a sneaking suspicion they don’t work for a lot of you either. In the simplest terms this is generally because resolutions are big lofty (a client of mine would call them “hairy”), unspecific, immeasurable 'wants' that usually more closely resemble a wish list of dreams, hopes and aspirations that are rarely grounded in reality.
"I’ll abandon ship because it’s all too hard and too disheartening"
For me to achieve my hopes and aspirations I need reality, I need check ins and I need to understand throughout the journey if I’m doing OK. Otherwise what I want seems unrealistic, unachievable or simply too far away and I’ll abandon ship because it’s all too hard and too disheartening.
And I’m not alone with this – in fact I’m part of a pretty big party. If you’re sitting there thinking that you’re not part of this loud and lairy party I recommend you read on. I’m sure that once I start describing some of the pitfalls of resolutions, you’ll start seeing some traps you’ve tripped into in previous years or some of the reasons why your resolutions were abandoned.
ONCE A YEAR
Resolutions are a once a year deal and I don’t see why I should only be setting goals and pushing myself once a year. Instead I try to re-evaluate my situation, where I’m headed and what I want throughout the year. I get that this sounds like a bit of faff but it isn’t as arduous and boring as it sounds, it’s actually a pretty quick and organic process once you’re in the habit.
When I started working as a Corporate Coach and Trainer I learnt pretty quickly how important goals are to achieving success and how crucial it is to create your goal properly. Goals structured the right way clearly outline exactly what needs to happen, how quickly and how you’ll know when you’re successful. Rarely I hear a resolution that has any more detail than the desired outcome – “Get Fit”, “Save Money”, “Cook More”, “Read More Books” – how will you know when you’ve nailed your goal or if it’s even possible unless you think about the logistics?
"Goals structured the right way clearly outline exactly what needs to happen, how quickly and how you’ll know when you’re successful"
Additionally I would NEVER set ginormous (hairy & lofty) goals on their own. They just seem insurmountable and are lacking the detail to know how to complete them. Instead the client and I would break down the goal into achievable chunks, they would then work through those smaller goals and that large, hairy goal would suddenly become stressful and daunting.
UNACHIEVABLE WISH LISTS
Achievable is a key word here and I didn’t repeat it because I haven’t proof read this. I’ve repeated it because it’s another classic trap when people are setting themselves goals. People tend to “shoot for the moon and hope to fall among the stars” which is the poetic way of saying that you’ve set an unrealistic target, know you’ll fail but hope you’ll get close. Instead think of yourself as a rubber band – you want to stretch yourself but not so far that you break, it’s all about finding that happy ground where you’re pushing yourself but not in a way where you constantly fail.
"you’ve set an unrealistic target, know you’ll fail but hope you’ll get close"
So how do you create goals with all these elements? Well, it’s actually a pretty easy process to do, you just follow the SMART framework – and there’s only 5 points to remember. SMART goals are ones that are:
Make sure you’re as specific as you can be, don’t leave wiggle room or the goal open to interpretation.
How are you going to know you’ve achieved your goal unless you can point to something? It’s a clear, irrefutable way to mark your success, keep you focused and striving towards a clear goalpost.
Working towards something that you concede is not within your limits, time frame or capabilities can be a waste of your time and will invariably leave you disheartened because you “failed”.
This is another way that’s pretty self-explanatory but it’s a great reminded when you’re breaking down a larger goal into achievable ones. If you’re objective for the year is to increase your online sales, a goal related to brick and mortar sales is not going to be relevant to online sales.
For the same reasons that It’s important for your goal to be measurable it’s important for you to have a timeline on your goal. It stops you aimlessly wandering, maintains the pressure
Let’s take a classic new years resolution and break it down to how it could look...
The second example is a lot more specific with a clear goal to achieve and a due date. Now let’s take a business goal...
Again it’s considerably more specific and it's one of those big, lofty goals that I talked about breaking down earlier. This would be broken into several goals that align with an SEO strategy – like increasing back links, mobile-friendly navigation or publishing and providing high-quality related content.
"Make sure that when you’re planning the structure of your goal you think about how you’re going to reward yourself when you do"
There’s one last step that isn’t officially part of the SMART structure but gosh darn it, it damn well should be: reward and celebration. Make sure that when you’re planning the structure of your goal you think about how you’re going to reward yourself when you do. It doesn’t need to be a huge or expensive reward – it can be as simple as taking time to reflect and telling a mate what you’ve done. It’s an important step that after all your hard work you take a moment to celebrate before moving onto the next thing – otherwise it can seem endless, thankless and, overtime, pretty disengaging.
TO SUM UP
To recap rather than setting resolutions in 2018, you should set SMART goals because they’re:
· More specific and clearly defined leaving less open for interpretation or confusion
· Force you to think through the logistics how long it will take and the steps required
· You won’t be setting ridiculous, crazy wishes that are impossible to achieve and result in you feeling pretty shit
· You’re reminded to take the time to acknowledge and reward your work and effort
I'd love to hear what your resolutions are, comment below to tell me.
Who are you & why are you giving me all this awesome help?
Hi, my name is Millie and I’m a Tasmanian digital marketer, word nerd and coffee addict. Squawk Digital is my Hobart based digital marketing studio.
We're all about custom solutions that are highly practical and designed to work with your current structure, processes and workflows. We don't do cookie-cutter, boring arse generic marketing because it doesn't work, and we’re all bored with that shit - you know that’s true.