Monday, January 12, 2015

Second week in January...Do you know where your New Year's resolutions are?

I stopped setting New Year's Resolutions when I discovered the power of goals. The interesting thing about a goal is that you have more of a chance of reaching a goal than powering through a resolution. Why is that?

Well, for one thing, goals should have a deadline. I will finish the draft of my book before May 1 is more of an instruction (which motivates) then the vague resolution ... This year I want to draft a book. Or this year I resolve to draft a book. You can procrastinate all year and suddenly find yourself face to face with December and nothing written on your book. Goals give you a deadline.

I will polish my draft before June 1 is much better than...I resolve to polish my draft.

Goals must be specific and time bound. In other words, a goal has to be stated clearly enough that you have no trouble understanding what you are to do. :) Time bound means you give yourself a deadline. Because a goal without a deadline is only a wish. (And if you see this quote online attributed to somebody like Oprah...Know that I came up with this about 20 years ago. LOL)

The same is true with ... I resolve to lose weight this year. Really? How much weight? By when and how do you intend to accomplish this?

Contrast I resolve to lose weight this year with ... I will lose 12 pounds by April first by going to the gym three times a week (with my trainer...) and using the lose-it app to track what I eat.

You can easily see which one will actually get results.

I gave myself 3 months to lose 12 pounds...a pound a week and I gave myself a plan: Work with trainer, use lose-it app to track what I eat. (There's nothing like accountability!) And I fully expect to see those pounds gone. Not by magic, but because I have a deadline and a plan...but I also know exactly what I am to do. Lose 12 pounds. :)

Or how about...I resolve to be happy. Yikes. How do you measure that? What's your deadline? And what are the specifics? How do you define happy?

Contrast that with...I will play golf with my husband and our friends once a week from May 1 until the end of September.

What does playing golf have to do with being happy? Well, it makes me happy to be with our friends and especially happy to spend time with my husband!

You could also add: I will take the third week of August off and go to the beach with my husband.

That's another goal that's more concrete than resolving to be happy. Going to the beach makes me happy. So I set the goal of going to the beach with the end result that I will be happy. :)

But notice something else...Specific goals help me to plan my year. If an editor says, How about if we make your deadline August 25, I can say, I'm going on vacation that week. Our deadline either needs to be the week before or two weeks after.

Do you get the picture? Goals have served me very, very well...especially last year when I had to write almost five books.

So take those resolutions that are making you feel either confused or like a failure and language them so that they are specific, measurable and time-bound.

And see if your year doesn't become more productive!

Happy Monday...and Happy Reading!

susan meier

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