Goals In The New Year…

2019 With Fork In ItJanus, the Roman God of beginnings, transitions, and endings, and for whom the month of January is named, is usually depicted as having two faces; one that looks towards the future, and one that is focused on the past. As we find ourselves on the precipice of a new decade, it seems entirely appropriate to be in a dual state of reflection and anticipation.

Looking forward, approximately 45% of American adults are poised to make a New Year’s resolution. Many will pledge to Exercise More (59%), Eat Healthier (54%), Save More Money/Spend Less Money (51%), Lose Weight (48%), or Reduce Stress (38%). And yet, according to US News & World Report, roughly 80% of these New Year’s resolutions are destined to fail – before the month of February. Yikes!

I don’t believe there is a specific mechanism or approach that makes achieving a particular goal more or less realistic. That said, I absolutely do believe in a notion reflected in a famous quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (a French WWI pilot, writer and poet), who remarked that, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Studies suggest that you are 42% more likely to realize a goal merely by writing it down and viewing it on a recurring basis. Just as important, however, is the ability to frame goals in a manner that assures they are: 1) Specific (oriented to a particular activity area or outcome), 2) Measurable (capable of being quantified/qualified), 3) Achievable, (grounded in reality and attainable), 4) Relevant (achieving the goal yields a desired outcome), and 5) Time-Bound (a clear timeframe for achieving the goal has been determined).

Of course, I’m talking about SMART Goals. For me, this approach has proven invaluable, particularly when it comes to making incremental progress on personal and professional objectives. Realizing important goals lets me feel a greater degree of happiness and fulfillment. And, aren’t these the very things that all of us are after?

So, here’s a simple wish for you in 2020 is this: Whatever your goals, and whatever plan you design to achieve them, I hope you will write them down, look at them regularly and formulate a way to measure your progress. As Steven Covey once observed, “Begin with the end in mind.”

Wishing you tremendous success in 2020!


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