New Year’s Resolutions: In July

Posted on June 30, 2011

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It seems like just yesterday we were making New Year’s resolutions. Now we are halfway through 2011.

Take a moment and consider how the year has gone so far.

Great.

Now, forget about the past and let’s focus on the future.

The July 4th holiday weekend is a great time to take a deep breath and consider your goals for the second half of the year.

I don’t mean cheesy, New Year’s resolution goals you have no intention of keeping. I’m talking about real goals you are serious about pursuing so that when the ball is getting ready to drop signaling the start of 2012 you can put on your party hat with a feeling of satisfaction.

I know goal setting can feel like a painful process, most likely because it is forever tied in your mind to dreadful annual employee reviews that required your boss to set goals with you for the next year.

What I’m suggesting should be easier because the only one setting your goals is you.

When you have some time away from the station, studio or office pick up a pad of paper and make a list of goals; both personal and professional.

Don’t stop after the first few ideas, press yourself to really examine what you want to achieve.

Consider things you’ve put on the shelf because they feel impossible such as the book you started writing a couple of years ago. Oh wait, that’s me not you. Sorry.

Once you’ve made a nice long list of things you’d like to achieve in the next six months, whittle it down to the ones that are most important to you and expand on them.

While I’m no fan of cheesy acronyms, this is a good time for one. Your goals should be S.M.A.R.T.:

Specific: Write down the who, what, where, when, why and how of the goal. “Work on my book” is too general. Try “Schedule an hour three days a week when I will work on writing my book.”

Measurable: Establish milestones that specify how much you will accomplish and by when. “I will add 5,000 words to my book each month.”

Attainable: Consider the skills you need to attain a goal. “Devise a plan to fix the federal budget” probably isn’t realistic unless you already have a degree in economics. In the case of writing my book the plan could include following blogs about fiction writing, attending workshops or finding a mentor all of which are attainable.

Realistic: Simply put, this means taking a moment to realistically assess whether or not you will actually do it. Focus only on goals you will really pursue. I’ve already started my book, so I know I am capable of pursuing it.

Timely: Goals are best when they have a specific timeframe. I’ve already taken care of this one. Your timeframe is the next six months.

There is one more dimension I would suggest adding to the list: 

Accountable: Keeping your goals private is the surest way to let them slide. Share them with your significant other, a friend or a trusted colleague. Maybe create a permanent record by posting them online somewhere, like in a blog post about goal setting.

If you aren’t comfortable sharing your goals with people you are close to send them to me. I’ll help keep you on track..

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