I actually don’t like the word “resolution”. I associate it with either A) a wish or dream that will leave me feeling bad about myself by mid-February or worse, B) an act of Congress. I prefer the idea of setting goals for the coming year. And let’s be honest, with two young kids and a full time job, I spend 90% of each day operating in pure survival mode, so making drastic changes in 2019 is unlikely. Bearing that in mind, here are my tips for setting realistic New Year’s goals in 2019.
1. Get S.M.A.R.T.
As in SMART goals. Anyone who has spent some time working in corporate America should be familiar with SMART goals. This is the idea that any goal you set should be Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Relevant and Time-based.
In other words, don’t make a resolution to “lose 15 pounds this year” set some specific measurable goals, such as “get 30 minutes of exercise three times a week” or “replace one soda a day with a bottle of water.”
My biggest day-to-day frustration in our house is dinner time. I am a vegetarian, my husband is not, our seven-year-old daughter is a very picky eater and our three-year-old son thinks that everyone gets to eat whatever they want to since that is what has been modeled by the rest of the family. Oh, and did I mention that by the time I get the kids home, they want dinner on the table in no less than 10 minutes? So here’s my SMART goal for 2019: we plan dinners for the week together as a family and if someone doesn’t want to eat what is made that day, he or she can eat a salad instead. I even purchased a meal planning white board on Amazon for our refrigerator to support this new effort.
2. Go Streaking
One reason I think New Year’s resolutions flame out after a couple of weeks is the unrealistic expectation that you’ll never slip up and eat another cookie again. So see how many days (hours?) you can go without eating a cookie. When that streak ends, see if you can beat your previous record of no-cookie days with the next streak of no-cookie days.
In the case of my dinner goal, if a week comes along where we are just struggling to survive and the plans get tossed out the window, I am giving myself permission to let it go. (And then push those colorful dry erase markers back into everyone’s hands the following week!)
3. Set Fiscal Year Goals
The best time to set a new goal is when you’re really ready to tackle it head-on. While the first day of a new year is a good time for me to focus on something new because the holidays are behind me and my busiest time of the year isn’t for another nine months, I have a number of friends who are CPAs and they are heading into their busiest time of the year right now. So perhaps for them, the best time to get a fresh start and set some new goals is after April 15. Set a new goal for yourself when the timing is good for you, not just because the calendar tells you to.