I love thinking about and writing down my goals for each year. I used to set unrealistic, vague, way-too-big goals and resolutions – the kind that barely last beyond the start of the New Year. My mom and I laugh about her yearly goal, which has always been to “Learn to speak French.” It’s sounded good for the last thirty years, but it hasn’t happened.
Now, I set SMART goals each year, and I get a lot of satisfaction in seeing how many of them I actually reach. I tend to make too many goals, but I’m not too hard on myself about that. I just keep my list and update it for the next year. These years go by so fast, I figure that if I even reach one or two goals each year, that’s progress!
If you have a goal that you actually want to reach in 2014, make it a SMART goal:
Instead of a vague goal like “Get fit,” make a SMART goal like, “Train for and run a 5K race by July 1, 2014.”
I’ve learned from Christine Carter and others that we change ourselves and reach big goals by making teeny, tiny daily habit changes. I’ve also learned that relational goals are the ones that will bring us the most happiness.
Here is one of my SMART goals for 2014, along with the habit and actions required to make it happen:
HABIT: Every Wednesday morning, while drinking my first coffee, write an encouraging note or letter to one of my kids.
TRACKING & REMINDING: Put in my Google Tasks so that a reminder pops up on my phone at 6:00 am each Wednesday. Include each child’s name on one task per month, with two children on the first Wednesday each month (so that I get to all five each month!).
PREPARATION: Have my writing supplies in my desk drawer, ready to go, along with stamps (for kids who are away at school), so that I don’t need to spend any time finding supplies when it’s time to write my notes.
What is your SMART goal for 2014? I’d love to hear your ideas!
Resources for you to set goals and track new habits:
Habit Tracker (Christine Carter, Raising Happiness)
SMART Criteria (Wikipedia)
Three New Year’s Resolutions that Will Make You Happier (Greater Good Science Center)