The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. (Ecclesiastes 7:8)
Hours after the new year is ushered in, an American ritual once again begins in earnest. Thousands of Americans flock to the local health club, start a new diet, adjust their spending habits, and begin cleaning out their closets in an attempt to meet their New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, by the time the groundhog checks his shadow on February 2, many resolutions have already been abandoned!
With such pessimistic projections, some may wonder if it is truly possible for us to achieve the goals we set at the start of each New Year. Some mental health professionals believe that success is possible if we use the SMART Principle to set goals.
The SMART Principle encourages individuals to set goals which are Specific, Measurable, Adjustable, Realistic, and Time specific. Specificity helps us set detailed goals and focus more clearly on the goals we wish to achieve, while measurability allows us to keep tabs on our progress and document success. Adjustability gives us the opportunity to accomodate any challenges we encounter without giving up on the entire goal. A dose of reality ensures that we start in a reasonable place so that we do not become overwhelmed early on. Time specificity is important because it prevents us from procrastinating, forgetting about, or becoming bored as we seek to reach our goals.
If you’re like me and have had some difficulty keeping resolutions of years past, be encouraged! It is possible for us to reach our 2009 goals. Though the SMART Principle is an excellent way to approach goal setting, I want to include an even smarter principle first. Let’s start by bringing our resolutions to God to see if our goals for the year match His will for our lives. Once we know that we’re in His will, we can move on to approaching our goals sensibly and realistically.
Happy New Year! May your 2009 be full of opportunities to embrace Him!
Photo: Courtesy of FotoBob# (Flickr)
© 2009, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.