By Mary Kate Pedigo, Sam Houston Electric Cooperative

It’s 2018. We are all coming off a wave of holiday celebrations and we’ve greeted the new year with optimism, promise and hope for a new season. For some, we set out to make life changes. For others, we look to set small resolutions just to say we have some. Many make it through the first week in January, others make it perhaps six weeks, and for the lucky few, those resolutions stick with us permanently.

Whether big or small, aren’t these “new year resolutions” just goal setting? And maybe it’s not the goal or resolution itself that is our stumbling block, but how we set those goals for ourselves.

Let’s look at how we can set up any goal, be it large or small, to be successful, attainable and permanently stick with us.

  1. Set a goal that motivates you. Make sure there is real value in achieving your goal. If it is not important to you, you are less likely to put in the effort to accomplish it. On a side note, there are often times we are tasked with goals that we don’t necessarily want to take on, perhaps in the workplace, but there may still be value in those goals. You might gain pride in taking a difficult project across the finish line, or earning accolades from your boss or colleagues.
    Tip: Write down why your goal is valuable and important to you. If you shared it with others, would you feel strongly enough about it to convince them it is a worthwhile goal? This value statement can also boost your motivation if you begin to lose confidence in your ability to make the goal happen.
  2. Set SMART goals. I’ve seen this acronym shared a lot, but it makes perfect sense and is easy to remember.
    1. Specific—Make sure your goals are clear and well defined. Vague goals are hard to follow and you should know precisely where you would like to end up.
    2. Measurable—Include dates, amounts or elements to your goal that are quantifiable. Without a way to measure, it is more difficult to celebrate your achievement or milestone.
    3. Attainable—Is your goal possible to achieve? If there is no hope of achieving it, you’ll only be setting yourself up for disappointment.
    4. Relevant—Keep your goals in line with who you are and where you want to go. Stay focused and avoid scattered and inconsistent goals.
    5. Time-Bound—Give your goal a deadline. Not just a date by which your goal should be achieved, but also a date to celebrate your success.
  3. Make a plan and stick to it! This part is often overlooked when setting goals. We focus on the outcome and forget to lay out a plan as to how we will get there. Before you set out on a road trip, don’t you plan how you’ll get to your destination? The same holds true to your goals. Write out the steps you’ll take to achieve your goal. Cross out each step as you attain it to show yourself that you are making progress.
  4. Lastly, stick to your plan. Consistency and focus will help you stay on track. A partial commitment to your plan will only produce partial achievement of your goal.

Take 2018 by the horns. Make this year the time to make goals stick, boost your confidence, and show others your fortitude. Wishing you all the best and a prosperous new year!