My Life

New Year’s SMART Resolutions

It’s that time of year again. It’s time to write your New Year’s Resolutions. You know, your long list of stuff you want to do differently next year that will make you a bigger, better person. Maybe you started writing it in July or October. Maybe you’re scrambling, thinking of ideas right now.

I do it, we all do it, and there’s nothing wrong with doing it. We all want to become better people, right? The problem with New Year’s Resolutions is we usually forget them by mid-January. You might want to check out this TED Blog on why it’s so hard to stick to New Years’ Resolutions. Kelly McGonigal discusses “The Science of Willpower,” a course she teaches at Stanford University.

“Willpower is the ability to align yourself with the brain system that is thinking about long-term goals — that is thinking about big values rather than short-term needs or desires.”

I think she’s hit the source of the problem. Many of us focus on the long-term issue, rather than focusing on the short-term steps we can take to make our long-term goals a reality. That’s why it’s important to make SMART Resolutions (Also known as SMART Goals).

You might be familiar with SMART Goals. In fact, you were probably asked to write a few when you were in school. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. All goals and resolutions should be SMART.

Here is a preview of my current list:

1) Read twenty pages every day. Last year, my GoodReads goal was to read 88 books in 2014. Definitely not attainable, so it wasn’t SMART. Some books I read are 800 pages long, whereas others are 80 pages. Some books take two days to read, and others take a month. During 2014, I read fifteen books (sixteen if I finish the book I’m reading before the end of tomorrow). I didn’t come close to my goal. I do, however, think I can do better than fifteen, since I did not read every day in 2014. There’s no reason I can’t double that if I read at least twenty pages every single day. Realistically, I believe I can read more than twenty pages on most days. My goal is to read thirty books in 2015.

2) Start every morning with TED. I recommend everyone add this goal to their SMART resolutions. TED.com is a wealth of inspiration and information. There’s no reason I can’t watch a short six minute TED video before I go to work. It’s a great way to wake up my brain.

3) Go to the library at least twice a week. I feel like I really missed out in college. I discovered during my last two terms of college that I function best in a library setting. My mind is at ease, which allows me to think freely. I’m more focused in a library setting, therefore I’m more creative. There’s something about being surrounded by shelves of words that sparks my creativity.

4) Exercise at least thirty minutes every day. Fifteen minutes in the morning and fifteen minutes at night. As the year progresses, I hope to progress, though I’ll start off slow as I ease back into a workout routine.

What are your SMART Resolutions?

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