Family, Opinion, Organization, Uncategorized, writing

New Year’s Resolutions and/versus Goal Setting

I confess that I am indeed one of the millions of Americans who year after year make resolutions for the New Year.  If I am entirely honest, about half of the resolutions I make- those such as exercise more, give up caffeine, cut back on carbs, etc.- I make with the intention of not keeping them.  Carbs are delicious, and while I have had to cut back due to an unfortunate allergy, I don’t plan on giving them all up. I could stand to target my exercise routine better, but I do exercise on a regular basis.  We’re not even going to touch the caffeine thing. This coffee-fueled blogger would consider the thought of giving up caffeine on the border of some sort of blasphemy.

All that said, there are real goals that I try to set for myself and my family every year.  And as the old year passes, and the new rolls ’round, it is timely to reflect on those aspects of life that I need to continue working on.  After all, the goals I set this year are typically ones that I have set for myself in years past. And while I have seen progress in some areas, such as better organizing my schedule or actually getting on an exercise routine,  there are other areas that are definitely works in progress. I am still not the best communicator especially with my spouse, and while I can come up with a budget, it can be hard to stick to one. Especially when I’m at Target. Or Anthropologie. Okay, confession time is over…

This year I have come to the realization that in order to make real progress, I would have to follow the S.M.A.R.T method of goal-setting. Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Saying that I want to stick to a budget isn’t a goal in itself.  Rather, that would be a means to an end.  Why am I sticking to a budget? For what end am I giving up that cute top at Anthro? What am I saving for and for how long? The goal is not specific enough, and so it is easy for me to lose sight of why I am “depriving” myself. Now if I say that I am saving up for a vacation to Disney World in July, the focus is much more clear. I can either spend now and not go or I can save up for that wonderful experience later.

So as 2017 comes to a close, I reflect on all the good things of this past year: watching the kids as they grow and sharing in their accomplishments and struggles, actually going to Disney World (yay!), finally starting this blog. And as 2018 approaches, it is time to make those New Year’s resolutions, but this year in a smarter way.  By setting specific, simple goals that are measurable and realistic, I can make steady, but lasting change.

And no, I’m not giving up my morning coffee. Or my afternoon one. Here’s to a wonderful 2018. Cheers!

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A snapshot of 2017. Here’s to 2018!
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