Two of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions are getting organized and getting in shape. Reaching these goals requires goal setting, planning and commitment, which seem overwhelming for many of us. If you don’t want to be one of the 92 percent who abandon their New Year’s Resolutions, read this quick and easy guide for setting yourself up for success in the new year.
Our goal at LightArrow is for you to accomplish success and productivity in 2015 and beyond – whatever your dreams might be. This post will help you formulate a plan to accomplish the life changes you dream about. It focuses on goal setting, planning and execution – whether your goals are for business or personal life.
Setting “S.M.A.R.T.” Goals
Clearly set, firm goals are necessary for meeting objectives in personal life or at work. However, many of us have vague, squishy goals such as “lose weight”, “organize house” or “start new business.” Ambiguous goals such as these examples are usually abandoned if the goal is unspecific, unrealistic and doesn’t include a deadline. Firming up these goals by making them “S.M.A.R.T.” is key for success.
Many businesses set goals by using “S.M.A.R.T.” goals, which is a mnemonic acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable or Assignable, Relevant or Realistic, and Time-Based or Time-Related. “S.M.A.R.T.” goals have been used successfully for years for personal development, project management and performance management. “S.M.A.R.T.” goals are most effective when written down. Write them in the present tense and phrase them in a positive way. They also include a time period. An example of a “S.M.A.R.T.” home organizing goal is:
I have an organized and clutter-free house in 90 days by minimizing unnecessary possessions and categorizing necessary objects through the use of organizing solutions. I practice uncluttering 60 minutes daily.
An example of a “S.M.A.R.T.” weight loss goal is:
I’m in shape and weighing 24 fewer pounds in 90 days by eating 2000 calories daily, doing 5 hours of cardio weekly, doing 90 minutes of strength training weekly, and practicing 60 minutes of yoga weekly for three months.
Recording your goals is important for reaching them. In fact, a study about goals performed by Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University of California found that those who write down and share their goals are 33% more likely to achieve them.
For those on the go, using a smartphone app, such as LifeTopix is a great method for recording goals. The following example shows how a goal appears in a smartphone app. With this app, you can also log metrics against your chosen goal. Other ways to record goals include using a paper journal or diary, spreadsheet or word processing program.
It’s also important to refer back to your recorded goals often to remind and inspire you to continue.
Make a Plan to Achieve Goals
In business, embarking on a new project always requires planning. In business and in life, creating a project to help you reach your goals is an excellent method for launching anything new – whether it’s an organized house, healthier body and mind, new business or product, or creative endeavor. Once you’ve recorded, stated and shared your goals with family, colleagues or friends, start making plans to set yourself up for success. For example, perhaps your goal is to get in shape. Getting in shape requires significant planning and commitment, which can be accomplished through project planning.
A project plan requires a list of specific tasks and in some cases, appointments and/or meetings. For example, to execute your goal to get in shape, there are a number of tasks and/or appointments that are necessary, such as attending exercise classes, menu planning, grocery shopping, purchasing a gym membership, etc.
Build and schedule a list of these tasks and appointments that are realistic in your life, and schedule these tasks on your calendar in order to stay accountable and remain on track. To accomplish this, use a basic paper planner or a smartphone app, such as LifeTopix to plan these tasks and appointments as shown in the following example.
Using a mobile calendar on your smartphone helps you balance your new time commitment with your current, and possibly already busy, schedule. In addition, the advantage of using a mobile, digital planner or calendar over a paper calendar is you receive both visible and audible reminders, which ultimately keeps you on track. Also, mobility is key when you’re someone who’s constantly on the go. Flexibility is a huge advantage of mobile apps over paper for project and goal planning. The ability to easily make changes to your plan anytime and anywhere keeps you productive and on task.
Log and View Your Progress
Keeping a log of your goals helps you achieve success because many people don’t realize that progress is being made because the changes are very small each day. For example, losing two pounds might not seem like much, but when this weight loss happens week after week, the lost pounds add up.
In addition, keeping a log of past successes helps you make these successes repeatable. It’s helpful to look back at logged items, journals or notes to motivate you based on past diet, household or business changes or other factors. Smartphone apps such as LifeTopix, paper journals, spreadsheets or other software are excellent methods for tracking workouts, healthy eating, and inches lost or other statistics. For example, with the LifeTopix app, you log all these types of items against your goals and watch your progress each day, week, month, etc. as shown in the following example.
Keeping notes and associating them with your project helps to trigger memories about what’s working and what’s not working. For example, in the following example, notes associated with the “Get Fit in 90 Days” project include important diet information, which impacts future weight loss success.
I hope you learned something new today about “S.M.A.R.T” goals and achieving personal and business success in 2015. What are your New Years’ Resolutions and what are your tips, tricks and tools for achieving them? Please share and comment!