New year goals and resolutions - Part 2

[New year goals and resolutions - Part 1]

How to set goals and resolutions

Most people say that it's useless setting new year resolutions at all because they'll never achieve any of those anyway; others say new year resolutions are meant to be broken. I think the problem isn't that people never stick to their resolutions but rather, they don't know how to set goals.

Allow me to share some useful management crap with you. Goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. : Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

For example, if your goal is "to lose weight", it's not SMART.
Specific: How do you intend to lose weight?
Measurable: Exactly how many kgs?
Attainable: If you are 80kgs and you want to get to 70kg, it's highly attainable. But if you say you want to do it in 3 weeks, that's hardly attainable.
Realistic: If you are 80kgs and you want to get to 50kg, it's unrealistic.
Timely: What duration or period of time are we looking at? 3 months? 1 year?

Example goal: to lose 10kg over the next 12 months by exercising at least 3 times a week for at least 15 minutes per session and by reducing fat and carbohydrate intake by 50%.

Then take your weight at the start (be honest) and at regular intervals to track your progress. Don't wait till the 11th month.

Review your goal often. Create a scorecard if you have to. Put it in a conspicuous place.

Write goals in present tense
I have written my goals in the present tense to remind myself to live them today.
Here's what I wrote last year:
- I exercise regularly.
- I look great and feel great.
- I love my home.
- I am at peace with myself and people.
- I have a loving relationship with my family.
- I inspire people.
- I have courage to follow my dreams.
- I can afford to maintain my current standard of living even if I have no income for 5 years.
- I have alternative sources of income of at least $1000 per month.

Note that some goals are qualitative rather than quantitative so I could not be SMART about them. However, "exercise regularly" could have been more specific.


Another thing to consider is whether the result you expect to achieve is dependent on factors other than your self-determination. Weight-loss is all about self-determination. Don't blame your family and friends for making unhealthy food choices or forcing you to finish your food. You have a choice.

But goals like wanting a promotion, or hitting your sales target depends on another person, the circumstances and alot of luck!

I think one of the worst goals people can have is to get married and have children by a certain age. You can set a goal to participate in 2 or 3 new group activities in the year to widen your social circle but it's not realistic to expect someone to be interested in you enough to marry you and have children according to your timeline!

What kind of person do you want to be?
In my previous post, [What kind of person do you want to be?]
In the process of trying to achieve our goals, I think we should not lose sight of the type of person we want to be. E.g. I value honesty so I will not use dishonest means to achieve my goals.

Review and refine
Goals are meant to be re-written from time to time after all. There's nothing wrong with increasing or decreasing your goal expectation halfway through if you have a good reason. For example, your initial goal may have been to lose weight but you later refine it to a specific BMI target or amend it to a speed goal like running 2.4km within a time limit or being able to do 3 pull-ups. I don't regard refinement of goals as failure. Only total abandonment of the goal is failure.

I am still working on my goals for 2010. I shall share them with you soon! I hope you'll share yours with me! :)

[New year goals and resolutions - Part 3]


Jeremy said...

Good comments on goal setting, inspired me for a minute to start one myself!


David said...


What are you new years goals?

BTW, how are you celebrating CNY?


David said...


What are you new year goals? Have any or are you waiting for CNY?

Can you share your CNY plans?


Yu-Kym said...

Jeremy, for a minute meaning now you are not inspired anymore? :P

David, I celebrate CNY but the celebration is nothing elaborate. I will have family dinner at my parents' on the eve of lunar new year and visit my grandmother on one of the days. That's it :)