The following is a post from our staff writer Heidi Williams, enjoy!
Why bother making New Year’s resolutions when we can’t even remember what they were by mid-January? For most people, the intention is good, the need is real, and the original purpose can still be accomplished. My suggestion is that, when done right, a “goal” is a better vehicle for change than a “resolution.” The distinction between the two is more than semantic. You can make a goal whenever you feel like committing to change rather than when society tells you it’s time to turn a corner in your life. It’s hard to cast goals aside as easily as last year’s calendar too.
Unlike resolutions, goals are “SMART,” which means they are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. If you want to achieve them, they are NOT grand sweeping statements you write on the nearest bar napkin at 11:57 on December 31st. That said, I do suggest you write your goals down, and post them where you will see them at some point each day. It’s even more effective when you share you SMART goals with someone who will keep you accountable.
As an example, I can tell you my resolution was to consistently beat deadlines to avoid the stress of last minute work which impairs overall quality. I can also tell you that I quickly broke that resolution. I retooled that worthy purpose into a better goal. Now, to achieve my original intention of meeting or beating all deadlines, my goal is to add assignments and projects to my calendar as soon as they are known, add interim deliverables or milestones to the calendar, and review a seven-day week as a total package prior to taking on additional commitments. This goal includes all the SMART elements, and now the entire webiverse is on notice and can keep me accountable to meet this goal!
With the launch of a new semester, its new classes, professors, and activities, I imagine your resolutions are a distant memory like so many others’. Instead of admitting defeat again this year, why not revisit them to see whether a goal or two could get you back on track? Then, feel free to post your goals here to harness the power of the web too!