Are you still on track with your New Year’s Resolutions?

Are you still on track with your New Year’s Resolutions?

Now it’s March. How many of your New Year’s goals find you still on track? How many have fallen by the wayside? Now is a good time to look back at those goals to see how smart they are. But before that, it’s important to look honestly at whether you actually want and intend to achieve them. If so, are you willing to commit to fulfilling them? Once committed, your best strategy is to make sure your goals are SMART.

SMART goals are those which are specific, measurable, achievable, results oriented and time-bound.

For example, if I want to stop procrastinating, it’s very likely that I will procrastinate on that goal. When the goal becomes specific, such as, I will stop myself from procrastinating when writing my blog, it’s much more likely to be successful. By limiting my focus to one area, I only have to be vigilant in one specific area. I have found, however, that in reality, I had begun to be aware of my procrastination in other areas as well. My specific goal doesn’t feel so overwhelming or difficult. Later, I can decide to expand it to other areas. One note: completely stopping one’s procrastination is probably impossible to do in a sustainable way. It’s best to have a goal of reducing procrastination by a set amount or to set my goal as a completed blog post a day or two before its due.

To make that goal measurable, I can decide that I will redirect my procrastination towards my intended task 5x/day. The first step in this is to notice that I’m procrastinating. So, I’ll ask myself, “How can I notice that earlier? Will using a timer help? Will Post-its in strategic places remind me? What other ideas can I come up with? Once I’ve noticed, I can choose to go back to my task and move toward fulfilling my goal, or not.

To make sure my goal is achievable, it’s a good idea to try it out for a day or two to see if my chosen level of intensity is practical. Then I set a level of difficulty that will challenge me and still work in my life. I’m a person who likes to dive into things, so without this achievable aspect of my goal, I’d choose to redirect 25 times a day, which would be unrealistic for me and lead to failure. It’s important to remember that this goal standard can change as you grow into your goal. Don’t be afraid to start small and adjust upward.

Measuring and keeping records of the results enables me to track my progress or lack thereof. This is where I come face to face with what I’ve done or not done. Sometimes this recordkeeping alone isn’t enough to inspire me toward my goals and I need to engage an accountability partner to hold my feet to the fire.

Sustainability is probably one of the most important aspects of goal setting. Having my ongoing goal reach into the mists of forever or until I’ve achieved perfection is another prescription for relapse. Setting a time limit for the goal, however, gives me an end point to work toward. When my goal has reached its end, I can evaluate how my performance went and decide to readjust the goal or continue as is for another round.

Many people surrender in the face of procrastination. If you are determined to get control over it and articles, books and videos aren’t helping you make appreciable progress, you might consider taking my online course. Mastering Your Procrastination will teach you how to set up your personal infrastructure to make lasting changes in this area and others.

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