Keeping Promises and Resolutions

What? Christmas is in December this year?

With a baby due (and born) on December 5, I was determined to have my Christmas shopping done, wrapped, and ready to ship by Thanksgiving. Why, then, do I have Christmas sewing still waiting to be ironed and put together to mail it out? The realization has come, be it too late, that my ambitions did not match my behavior. I had great ideas for saving money on Christmas, but they didn’t match my discipline or my ability to get them done. Pregnancy hormones, an active toddler, and just plain fatigue overcame my desire to get the projects done, so now I will be confessing my shortcoming to the family as I admit that their gifts will be arriving some time after Christmas. I know they’ll understand, but I really want to get better at accomplishing my goals!

Setting SMART goals

Perhaps you’ve heard the acronym, or maybe you’ve managed to miss it thus far, but insuring that your goals will be met starts with SMART goal setting. Goals should be:

Specific: Instead of saying “a clean home,” choose a room, section of the room, closet, dresser, etc. to focus on first. Instead of saying “eat healthier,” choose one part of your diet to improve on, such as more vegetables, or more low-fat ingredients.

Measurable: If you’re clearing out a dresser, how many drawers will you have cleared out? (Be encouraged when you clear out the first drawer of a five-drawer dresser; you’re 20% done!) If you’re eating more vegetables, how many meals a week and how many servings in each of those meals?

Attainable: Remember the proverb, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step?” Setting a goal you know you can achieve gives a sense of accomplishment that motivates you to keep going. Getting one extra vegetable into three meals a week is more attainable than the recommended five servings per day, and is still healthier than getting burned out and giving up on vegetables all together.

Relevant: Your SMART goal should be a part of a greater objective. Go back to the broad goal of “clean house.” Going through the bedroom dresser or kitchen pantry is a relevant part of a greater, meaningful goal. Dusting the artwork on the walls is part of a clean house, but if you can’t sit on the living room sofa or eat at your dining room table, the artwork isn’t the most relevant place to start.

Time-bound: When will you accomplish your goal? Again, remember attainable is part of the SMART goal. Having your house clean by Friday isn’t attainable, but clearing out the dresser in a year won’t motivate you to get it done. Even if you start the goal on the day it’s “due,” a self-inflicted (or externally inflicted) deadline will motivate you to get it done.

Keep your promise to yourself

Setting a SMART goal only helps if you follow through. Even if you have to start really simple, like waking up with the first buzz of the alarm clock, or drinking a glass of water with lunch, make a promise you can keep and keep it! As you learn to trust and obey yourself, the discipline will come more easily to attain bigger goals. If necessary, find someone to hold you accountable. This could be a spouse, a friend, or anyone who does not share the weakness you are working on.

This Week’s Challenge:

Make a promise to yourself, be it a small two-minute task or a full-on SMART goal, and keep it! Post your comment and let me know what you accomplished!

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