I used to make New Year Resolutions every year. Now, I don’t. I figured that, if I really needed to change something in my life, I don’t really want to put it off until next year and I would rather do it immediately. But that’s just me. I know a lot of you out there look at the New Year as a way of cleansing the mistakes of the past. So, if you’re the kind of person that does make New Year’s Resolutions, then more power to you.
However, it is kind of sad that, even a few days into 2016, some people may be already faltering with these resolutions. With this in mind, I actually thought I could help out by using a business trick I learned while I was working my regular nine-to-five job. I had to learn the Six Sigma method, a set of techniques and tools to improve processes. While I never used most of the things there in my regular life, I did learn about the SMART method. And I think it’s a fine way to stick to the promises you made to yourself in the previous year.
I know this sounds boring (who goes to a geek blogging site to learn business strategy?) and complicated but I’m going to try to keep this as simple as possible. In fact, to keep things really simple, the entire process is going to use the normal “I want to get fit” New Year Resolution throughout the entire “lesson.” This is just an example but the process can be used for pretty much all resolutions you have in mind.
Like I said, we’re going to use Six Sigma’s SMART process. It’s actually an acronym so let’s start breaking it down!
S is for Specific
Now, let’s look at the “I want to get fit” example. What’s does “get fit” really mean? Do you want to lose weight? If so, how many pounds would it take to actually “get fit”? Fifty pounds? Sixty? Or does “get fit” mean you can to 30 push-ups straight? Or do you mean 10 pull-ups? Or do you want to lose the gut and get a six-pack? It’s kinda hard to know when you have achieved your “I want to get fit” goal unless you really, really, really be more explicit by what you mean by it.
Now, it doesn’t matter what the Specific goal is. It could be anything from trimming your waistline to a sexy 24-inches or being able to bounce a quarter off your pectoral muscles. But you have to be able to know when you achieved your goal. Which leads to the next letter…
M is for Measurable
This goes hand-in-hand with Specific above. Notice that there’s always a number whenever you have to be Specific about something? That’s because you need quantitative data as a goal!
Attaching specific numbers makes the Resolution Measurable and, as a result, easy to track! You need to be able to see the numbers to figure out if you’re making progress or not. Without attaching Measurable numbers to your Specific goals, you’re just going to be guessing if you’re doing well or not.
Okay, now that you’ve broken down your generic “I want to get fit” New Year Resolution to Specific and Measurable goals, how are you going to achieve them?
A is for Attainable and/or Action-Oriented
Honestly, I had to do a bit of a refresher via the Internet for this because this usually get glossed over since I had several classes on SMART goals and they all gave me different definitions! Anyway, let’s go with the two most popular ones: Attainable and Action-Oriented. The two do go hand-in-hand, I suppose.
So, you have you’re Specific and Measurable goals. Now you have to make them Achievable and Action-Oriented. In other words, how are you going to actually Achieve them? Are you going to limit eating fast food to once a week instead of everyday? Are you going to start jogging for 30 minutes before going to work?
You have to figure out how you’re going to make sure you keep your New Year Resolution. Give yourself a few Action-Oriented steps to follow to meet them! But you have to ensure you don’t go overboard with your New Year’s Resolution as well…
R is for Realistic
The biggest reason why a lot of people give up on the “I want to get fit” New Year Resolution is demoralization. Even if you keep track of your progress like stated above, if you don’t set a Realistic goal, you’re just setting yourself up for failure.
If you Specific and Measurable goal is to lose 50 pounds, don’t expect it to happen in a month! If you do, you’re going to go through extremes by just drinking potato water for that entire month. And you’ll wind up being miserable throughout that entire period and give up. You have the entire year to meet the Resolution! It takes time.
Speaking of time…
T is for Time-Bound
Even if you do have the entire year to improve your life by these New Year Resolutions, you still have to set goals and milestones as well. Try to set Realistic Time-Bound goals within the year as milestones. For example, if you’re ultimate goal in your “I want to get fit” Resolution is to lose 50 pounds by the end of the year. You have to set dates when you actually check on your progress, like check your weight every month. While you’re at it, set a Specific goal regarding how much (Measurable) weight you have to have lost in that month’s time.
Setting Time-Bound goals helps keep you honest. Sure, you can slack off at times but you still have to make up for the time you did. Not only that, it makes you aware of how much, well, time you have to meet your ultimate goal.
So, I hope this helps. I understand New Year Resolutions can be tough to follow. But the SMART goals noted above may just give you the structure necessary to actually keep them. Here’s hoping 2016 will be a good year for you and your Resolutions!
What are some of your New Year Resolutions? Let me know in the comments below!