New Year’s Resolutions

Like everybody else, my New Year’s Resolutions include getting more done, losing weight, getting in better shape, and so on. I also hope to do things faster and more efficiently and to say a little more of actual substance on this blog. And I’m convinced I need to be more self-aware and think before speaking, so I at least seem like a better person.

Here’s a song about New Year’s resolutions from someone who already is better:


I’ve read various places that goals should be SMART, as in Specific and Measurable, Achievable and Realistic, and Time-limited. In the business world some make the R stand for “Responsible,” as in “somebody needs to be made responsible for doing this,” even though that’s not quite what the adjective “responsible” means, but since we’re talking business English we can’t expect too much. Anyway, this doesn’t really apply to personal goals, because it’s already obvious who’s responsible, namely whomever we can blame our failures on.

I admit the resolutions listed above aren’t SMART. A goal like “lose weight” isn’t even remotely specific, though I suppose it’s measurable, and it’s definitely achievable, especially if there’s no time limit. I’m not being more specific about my goals mainly because I’m too embarrassed to admit how much I need to do.

Instead I’ll give you an actually useful insight I saw somewhere recently: Besides the goals themselves, you need a plan to achieve them, or at least a next step or two. And those steps need to be clearly defined actions. For example, if your goal is to get more exercise, you need to be exact about what kind of exercise and when you’re going to do it. I’ve actually done this in the past with success.

One year in the remote past, I started out with a list of general goals. I went down that list item by item and figured out what I need to do during the first three months to stand a chance of completing each goal by year end. Then I went through the plan for the first quarter of the year and derived a to-do list for January, and I finally came up with a catalog of things to get done during the first week in January. At the end of that first week I reviewed what I’d done, and amazingly enough I’d managed to do almost everything I’d planned to do. So I came up with a list for the second week, and I got those done as well. It was amazing.

So what happened? Naturally, some disruption came along and I got out of the habit. Shame on me.

Maybe somebody reading this will do better than I will. It at least might be worth a try.

Either way, Happy New Year to all!

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