The new year has become a time to make jokes about everyone’s resolutions. We tend to expect new year resolutions to fail, and most do. However, they usually fail because they are not the right resolutions. They are too vague, or someone tells you to change something, but you are not convinced, or you really don’t have a plan to execute the resolutions.
Your resolutions should be SMART. In 1981, the Journal of Management Review proposed SMART goal setting for management; this can also help with your new year’s resolutions.
Set more detailed goals. If you say you will do better projects this year, detail this to something like ‘I will do five projects in a specific domain’. If you resolve to do more work this year, narrow it down to working an extra eight hours every week.
Set targets in units that can be tracked and measured. Create logbooks to track your resolutions. For example, to put in an extra eight hours, you may have to wake up an hour earlier every mornig. Log this on your phone where you can see it every day.
This doesn’t mean you should not think of big goals. Just break every goal into achievable pieces that are specific and measurable. For example, acquiring five new projects over the year may mean contacting 20 new clients, and at least four new clients every month.
The goal itself should be something that matters to you and changes your life the way you want it to. If the goal makes you better somehow, you are more likely to take it seriously. In addition, you will bring in people and resources to help you achieve your goal.
You need to put a realistic timeline to what you are planning. Break the goal into smaller achievable subgoals and set a time to achieve them. Small wins will show you gradual progress and increase your resolve to stick to a plan.