A new year. Fresh start. A time for setting unrealistic goals. Let’s all lose 50 pounds, organize every square inch of our home and become a dream spouse/parent/child.
New Year’s resolutions exhaust me.
I think the idea that we would upend our normal routine and totally flip our habits simply because the calendar rolled is insane. Perhaps this is my opinion because I have never, ever successfully established or completed a realistic New Year’s resolution in years past.
However, we have set personal and family goals over the last several years. I know, I’m a dork. I blame my business school education for the fact that when I hear people talk about their ‘goal’ I laugh (only inside my head, of course, because I’m not a total jerk) if it’s not clearly a SMART goal. Because they should always be SMART.
(I say this tongue-in-cheek because for decades I resisted goals of any sort.)
Specific. Lay out the details. The who, what, why, when and where. “I wanna be a hero” is not a specific goal. “I want to take each child on a date once per quarter” is more in line.
Measurable. Set out how you’ll determine whether you’ve achieved your goal. Will it be determined by percentage or pound or number? “Lose weight” isn’t a measurable goal. “Lose ten pounds by March” is a measurable goal.
Attainable. Make sure you’ve set a goal you can actually achieve. For example, if you have four kids and your house is a disaster (totally hypothetical example, of course…) setting a “Clean entire home, organize all closets and repaint all smudged walls by February” is NOT attainable. “Make coffee” might be.
Realistic. Make sure you’ve set a goal you can actually achieve. If you’re a 40 year old part time drug rep/part time stay-at-homeish mom, stating that you want to become an astronaut in 2018 is likely unrealistic. Visiting Cape Canaveral might be.
Time bound. Establish a timeline for your goals. It doesn’t do anyone any good to set a goal if there is no end date guiding you towards completion. Some goals may be annual and others might bring a monthly check-in. Just pick a date. For example, “I will wash the sheets annually in 2018.” Or “Complete taxes on April 14th this year.” Goals, people.
Beyond setting goals, I have set a Word of the Year for the last few years. My dear friend Laura, who is the one of the most well researched, creative people I know, encouraged our group of friends to pick a word that would guide our intentions for the year. There was an initiative of this nature created several years back called My One Word. Mike Ashcraft, pastor and author, talked about the importance of consistency and clarity to change your mindset and perhaps your life. He wrote about establishing a word that defined what you hope God will do through you in the coming year. An unresolution of sorts.
The site lists words like Grateful, Peace, Intentional, Strength, Faith, Fearless, Trust, Listen, Patience, Release, Freedom, Consistent.
My words have varied widely over the last few years depending on life status, kid status, career status. Initially I assumed the word would prevail for a week and then fall aside like all other New Year’s resolutions from years past. I was surprised when my chosen word continued to creep up week after week as I headed through 2017.
Ashcraft lists the following steps for selecting a word:
- Determine the kind of person you wish to be.
- Identify the characteristics possessed by this type of person.
- Pick a word associated with those characteristics.
For me, I had to blend my SMART goal with my Word of the Year. Because as much as I’d like to be June Cleaver, I need to keep in mind I am not built like fake June Cleaver. Nor do I have her fake temperament. And as much as I want to be Mark Cuban in my business savvy, I have not historically had his prowess. I need to be realistic. So words like Gentle, Present and Fearless come to mind.
Upon completion of a blog post, I always ask Matt to do a rough edit and check for glaringly obvious typos or the sharing of an embarrassing family story he’d rather me conceal. He assured me nothing was terribly out of wack and told me I was probably safe to hit the Publish button. He asked what word I landed on for 2018. Fearless, I said. Yes, fearless. I’m confident it’s fearless. Fearless is what I wish to be.
Then I asked him three more times if he was absolutely sure I should publish this post.
Work in progress, folks. It’s only January 1 so fortunately I have 364 days to work on that fearlessness. I would LOVE to know if you selected a word for this upcoming year! If you’re so inclined to share, I’d love to know what you chose.
Happy New Year and best wishes in living out your word!
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