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New Year's resolutions.

How are your New Year's resolutions doing?

Be honest. We are at the end of the first month of the year so let's come clean- how many resolutions have you kept yet?

As far as I'm concerned there is something a bit negative with the word 'resolution' –it sounds like something imposed on us, something we 'ought' to do. I prefer the words 'intention' and 'goal'!

What's in a word?

A huge amount!! An 'intention' is a direction you are intending to go in or something you are intending to achieve. The energy is very different –it is a positive word and when you state your intentions, you can feel your determination behind that.

Try a few phrases beginning "This year, I intend to ………" and see how that feels to you.

What about 'goals'?

A 'goal' is a way of taking that intention and putting into place in your life.
A lot is spoken of about goal setting at the beginning of the New Year but why set goals?

The purpose in setting goals is to have a vision to work towards, a vision that inspires you to take action and a way of achieving you intention. Goals enable you to focus on what is important and keep focused.

You are quite possibly familiar with the SMART way of goal setting. It is useful and effective.

An example of an un-SMART goal would be
I will take some professional development courses.

In SMART terms this would become:
I will enrol in an MBA at my preferred university by September this year and complete the degree within two years from the time I start.

S Specific (and stated in detailed, non-ambiguous terms)
M Measurable (by you as well as by your manager)
A Achievable (something to stretch you but which is realistic)
R Relevant (aligned to the business objectives and to your own career objectives)
T Time-bound (with a defined deadline)

If your goals are clear, you are more likely to achieve them and SMART goals are certainly clear, but they can sometimes be rather boring I find! How any times have I set the goal to tidy up my desk? I've lost count! I can make my goal as SMART as I like but even though I know it would be a good way to help me get organised, I never achieve it because the activity doesn't inspire me one bit!!

If your goals are totally inspiring then they will be even more motivating.

Creating inspiring goals

Take that SMART goal above and project yourself two years ahead when you are at the degree ceremony receiving your MBA. What will you see? What will you hear? How will you feel? You would probably be seeing all the smiling faces of your family and friends who are cheering and clapping and you will feel very proud!!

Have a go at this exercise:

1. Write down one of your professional goals and make sure it’s SMART (you could repeat this process as many times as necessary for other goals)

2. Now make sure it’s inspiring!

When you achieve your goal: What will you see? What will you hear? How will you feel?

So the reason you haven't achieved many of your New Year's resolutions could simply be that they are worthy aims but your goals weren't inspiring enough and clear enough.

Go back now with a bit of hindsight and a clearer focus and have another go!

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Sunday, 23 January 2011    Section: Careers    Author: Kate Cobb
Article tags: new year goals
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