I’m one of those people that loves New Year’s Resolutions. I started working on mine in early December. I love thinking about what I want to accomplish over the course of the year. I love making realistic, yet ambitious goals and breaking them down into bite-size pieces. What can I do this month? What can I do this week? What can I do today to get one step closer to this goal?
Every year, in preparation for making our New Year’s Resolutions, it seems like someone writes a new book or a new article or a new blog post about the best way to make new year’s resolutions. If you’re researching the most effective goal-setting methods, you’re going to find a lot of different opinions and many of them will contradict each other.
Some people (like me) who are hyper-organized and love making to-do lists and excel spreadsheets for our budgets absolutely love SMART goals.
Some people like to keep their goals simple and refer to them throughout the year for inspiration, maybe printing a list of their 2019 Resolutions and taping it to the fridge.
Some people prefer having no specific goals for the year. Every year, we grow and we learn and we accomplish great things so why limit ourselves to a few specific goals when we have no idea where life will take us this year!
The point is, how do we know which one is really the best?
Well, I am happy to announce that I have figured it out, ladies and gentlemen. The very best way to tackle those New Year’s Resolutions.
You might have already guessed it, but the answer is do what works for you.
Yes, I know. It’s kind of a predictable answer, but it’s hard to disagree with. We should all do what works for us. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to goal-setting. If you have done it the same way every year for a decade and you feel accomplished at the end of each year, keep doing it that way!
If you have no idea what works for you, do some research and pick the method that sounds like the most fun! If breaking down your goals into daily to-do lists sounds like it’ll bring you joy, do that! If you absolutely love the idea of setting zero goals this year and just taking life day-by-day and living in the moment, do that!
It can be really great to live in a time where we have so much information at our fingertips, but it can also be overwhelming and disheartening. We’re constantly changing how we do things in an effort to be the most efficient, or be the best, or be the happiest. But just because there’s a new cutting-edge goal-setting method, that doesn’t mean that other methods are obsolete.
A good example of this is the health and fitness industry. It really doesn’t matter what the current fad diet or popular exercise method is. If you’ve found the right exercise routine and the right diet for your body, that’s all that matters. Staying up-to-date on the latest research is helpful for getting new ideas and new perspective, but it doesn’t always mean you have to change the way you do things.
My family has done New Year’s Resolutions since I was a kid and, over the years, I have found that I am most successful when I make SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound). These goals are very structured and require a lot of thoughtful planning and follow-through. This year, I am going to publicly post my goals on the blog in an effort to hold myself accountable and track my progress. Here they are, broken down by category:
- Pay off student loans by March 2019
- Keep $1,000 in savings for emergencies
- Have $10,000 in savings by July to buy a new car
- End the year with $20,000 in savings
- Be in the best shape of my life by June 2019
- Master my Whole30 Food Freedom Lifestyle
- Publish my first book
- Conquer my anxiety
- Establish a monthly date night
- Establish a monthly talking time
- Achieve optimal physical, mental, and financial health together (so that we can talk about starting a family!)
I broke down these goals in the SMART goal format and plan on doing a monthly blog post to check-in on my progress and write about any wins and challenges I’ve encountered so far. Kevin has his own personal goals but we have the same financial and relationship goals. I will be making these goals a priority this year, and it may seem like there are a lot of them, but the theme for 2019 for me is improving my physical, mental, and financial health.
Cheers to 2019!