I’m very sure you are familiar with this title and for many, you are already making a very long list of do’s and don’ts for 2015. Okay, okay, okay, I have written a lot of new year resolutions in my life; what I cannot really boast of however is the execution of these resolutions.
You know, I used to think that once you make these resolutions, some mysterious powers and abilities will come upon you and make you do all those things all through the new year. Sincerely, so it seemed each year; I suddenly stopped doing those things I had resolved not to do and began to do those things I’d resolved to do.
So, I was such a perfect man on January 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and I sometimes made it to January 6th and soon it started feeling like I was carrying this huge burden. The only response my body gave all the time was to let go of the burden of trying to become an hundred percent changed man overnight. Usually towards the middle of January or towards the end, depending on how long my church’s new year fasting & prayer took, I’ve forgotten absolutely about my resolutions. Even if I’d written them down in a book, by now the book was already junked somewhere to be found sometimes close to December.
I hope you are not laughing at me, I bet my story is similar to yours. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in making resolutions, I believe resolutions precede a changed situation or life, but they can never work in isolation. There are several factors that come to play if your resolutions would become fruitful. Since I saw resolutions for what they really are and added the necessary components, I have since improved myself in many areas. Let me share some of these components with you:
Firstly, it’s important to know what resolutions are. Oxford dictionary defines resolution as a ‘firm decision to do or not to do something. So, as much as resolutions are firm decisions, they are still decisions and for them to become reality, you need corresponding actions. Someone once asked, “there are 10 frogs on a wall, all ten of them decided to jump off the wall, how many frogs are left on the wall?” If care is not taken, you’ll say none but because a decision requires an action to become reality, the answer is that “the ten frogs are still on the wall”. Firm decisions can be compelling but don’t expect them to perform the miracle of working themselves out, you need to do something.
Secondly, resolutions can be made at any time of the year not necessarily at the beginning of a new year. According to Dan Diamond in an article written on Forbes.com, “University of Scranton research suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals.” Meager 8%? Oh coconut (in my son’s voice)! One would think with the over 40% Americans and probably much more in other parts of the world that wait till December 31st every year to make resolutions, more people will be committed to achieving all. As much as a new season, a new month and of course a new year are always good times to implement a new way of life, the time of the year the resolutions is made is not as important as the discipline and commitment to ensure the achievement of the goals for that’s what resolutions are – goals.
You must have heard this statement before ‘keep your resolutions simple’. I agree but it is different from keeping it short. This is because it can be short and yet indirect, vague and definitely unachievable. So yes, keep it simple but specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound and stretch. Yes, you are right, I have just listed the words in the acronym – SMARTS. If you are going to see your resolutions become reality you will have to articulate them in a ‘SMARTS’ way – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound and Stretch. Others words in this goal setting approach are quite clear but achievable and relevant can be a little tricky. Your goal should be relevant to your life or your choice of business and/or career etc. As for achievable, as much as we know you have faith and except God has specifically spoken to you or about you, don’t aim in December 25th to be President of America on January 1st if you are not an American and even if you are… This is an extreme example but I know you get my analogy.
It’s also quite important to plan to achieve resolutions and goals within smaller chunks of time rather than leaving it open for 12 months, they are called operational plans when they are within days, weeks and few months and tactical plans when they are between 3 to 6 months. For instance, if you set out to read 4 books in the coming year, you can plan to read 1 per quarter. So, you don’t wait till December to measure how you have performed, you can do it on a quarterly basis. If you measure your progress in March and you haven’t read any book by then, this means you need to adjust your plans accordingly.
So, please set SMARTS goals to have a better new year, set goals that are not just about you but about adding values to others. Set goals to be of huge service to God and humanity in the new year.
I wish you a merry Christmas and a very prosperous 2015.