Resolutions almost always fail. Most of them are made more to go along with tradition than to make real, necessary changes. And they are rarely backed up by plans. Instead of making resolutions, why not try setting goals for 2022? By now, most of us have heard of the SMART method for setting goals. Created by consultant George T. Doran in 1981, this goal checklist began as a way to formulate goals in a corporate environment. Today, we can use his method to set goals for our art practice, second job, side hustle, or personal interests.
Specific goals are more likely to be reached.
One of the problems with resolutions is that they are often vague. “I want to improve my finances” doesn’t really offer anything to work toward. You could be talking about a complete overhaul of your budget, getting an entirely new job, and completely changing your lifestyle and spending habits. Or you could be talking about spending five minutes looking for dropped change and plastic bottles to redeem for dimes.
“My goal is to have an extra hundred dollars after paying all the bills each month,” or “This January, my goal is to rewrite the family budget to allow us to put $200 aside for our summer vacation in July,” are specific financial goals.
Measurable goals encourage you to keep going.
One of the easiest ways to give up on a goal is to lose sight of your progress. Making sure your progress can be measured is one way to keep yourself from losing track of where you are and how much further you need to go. Some goals are measured in an obvious way. If it’s my goal to save $500 in the first six months of the year, I’m going to measure my progress by how much money I have stashed. Other goals aren’t as easy to measure. If my goal is to sing onstage again by the end of July, how do I measure my progress? Will it be measured in the number of people I sing in front of offstage? Will it be measured in the number of songs I learn and rehearse enough to be comfortable performing them onstage? Am I going to set a number of hours to practice each week?
When a goal is achievable, we are less likely to give up out of frustration.
Making our goals achievable isn’t “politically correct” these days. We’re supposed to tell ourselves and each other that we can do anything as long as we put our minds to it, adopt the right attitude, and never give up. But this simply is not true. Everyone has their strengths, weaknesses, things they’re called to do for a living, things that they can do, but will only ever be hobbies, and things they’re terrible at. This includes people you admire, people who seem like they can do “everything,” me, the person next to you, and you.
We also have to take our family, finances, professional obligations, health, and other goals into consideration when setting goals.
This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t dream, or set far reaching goals, just that they should be something we have the ability to do. Someone who has been playing guitar and singing professionally for twenty years, has been in bands, written songs, and played for live audiences could absolutely set a goal of making an album every other year. Their friend who just picked out their instrument yesterday is probably not going to be ready to be a professional musician in six weeks..
Keeping goals relevant helps us keep going by making the goal part of something already important to us.
Setting meaningless goals just because that’s what everybody else is talking about doing is a surefire way to fail completely. If the goal isn’t meaningful to us in some way, we are likely to honestly not care enough to put in the necessary work to achieve it.
Money saved toward splurging on a designer bag or coat is likely to be spent before it reaches the necessary amount if the saver does not truly enjoy wearing designer labels. Setting a goal to learn a language simply because your family insists it will help your job prospects is more likely to end in a pile of discarded books and software than language proficiency.
Time-specific goals, also called deadlines, prevent excuse making.
Vowing to learn to play the piano, make a new budget, get your house cleaned and painted, or finally get a professional wardrobe put together “someday” leaves an overly easy way out when you don’t do anything. Setting a deadline holds you accountable. If you set a goal to have the living room professionally cleaned and painted by the middle of June, you know you will feel a sense of failure if it’s August seventeenth and you’re still looking at the coffee stains on the carpet and the twenty year old paint on the walls. This wish to avoid that feeling will keep you motivated to keep saving money, clearing out clutter, getting estimates, moving furniture, or any other steps you need to take to achieve that goal.
Forget making new year’s resolutions. Have you set your 2022 goals yet?
by Jess Szabo
Originally published on Artist Cafe Utica
by Jess Szabo originally published on Artist Cafe Utica www.artistcafeutica.com