Everyone has a boost in motivation when writing their New Year resolutions and, honestly, why not?  It’s a great time to start something since everyone else is doing it.  It’s usually the time when people are very optimistic about the 365 days coming up they feel that they can do anything, everything, the thing they never got around to, and thing they vowed will be done, and the thing they will probably stop doing in a few months.

Now why is that?

Well, beginnings are always hopeful.  The start of a new job, the start of a new relationship, the start of a new goal, and so on.  The problem is the start is usually where we make mistakes.

When setting goals, you should make sure that they should be SMART goals.  I’m sure many of you know the concept of SMART goals in work but, as a reminder, goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.  We apply SMART goals in our jobs and it honestly travels well into our lives.

Now let’s take the classic example of losing weight.  The usual resolution is “lose weight” or some more specific version such as “lose five kilos this year”.  Alright the second one is a bit better but the goal is so vague Future-You would look for (and find) the loop holes.  Future-You would say “well, I lost a kilo so I’m alright” NO!  You’re NOT alright,  you must be stronger than Future-You.  You must be SMARTer 😉

S- Lose five kilograms

M- measurable with a weighing scale

A- it is most probably attainable

R- yes it’s relevant as it has to do with your weight

T- by June 30, 2015.

(Motivation: one slice of chocolate cake- this addition would help keep your eye on the goal.  But internal motivators should be used for better results).

Aha.  Now you can apply the same method to your other goals.

Challenge yourself, set your goals and make sure to keep milestones that would keep your motivation up.  It helps when you can see the end that’s why 30 day challenges work well.  For writers who plan to write a book, milestones can be the chapters written or reviewed.  For photographers, milestones can be a certain number of pictures taken and shared or sold, and so on.

Identify the goal so you can keep it right in front of you.  Identify your goal and work towards it.  Identify your goal and reward yourself when you reach.  Pat yourself on the back and be proud.

Stop giving yourself excuses, start somewhere SMART.