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The times they are a-changing – how did you go with your New Year resolutions?

January 10, 2011

A quick Google search reveals countless polls showing high failure rates for New Year resolutions. The actual percentages quoted vary but they all make grim reading.

Bob Dylan

If you’re still on track with yours, well done. If not what went wrong?

Making resolutions, like making any other change in your life will have a much better chance of success if you not only have a genuine desire to make the change but also a compelling reason to do so. And even when your intent is firmly set, you then need a specific plan to bring the change to fruition and the commitment to see it through. Oh, and having a support network in place can really make the difference when the going gets tough.

If you’re serious about making change in your professional or personal life, it’s helpful to stop thinking about ‘resolutions’ (which, lets be honest, can be tainted by alcohol induced bravado or guilt after that extra serve of Christmas pud!) and start thinking in the sober terms of goals and objectives.

The acronym ‘SMART’ (that is Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Results-orientated and Time bound) has been around for years but it’s a really useful little tool for making you think about exactly what it is you’re aiming to achieve.  A well articulated goal is the first step to making any change stick.

To explain what I mean by ‘well articulated’ I’ll share one of my New Year goals. As I’ve undoubtedly mentioned before I’m passionate about music, particularly composing and recording my own work. Last year I was disappointed with myself that I only wrote instrumental music rather than songs with lyrics. Not being a brilliant singer has been my perennial excuse but hey that never stopped Bob Dylan!

This year it’s going to be different, so I’ve set myself a goal around writing songs. Here it is…

“I will write and record a minimum of 4 songs (to at least a ‘demo’ standard) and post them on my MySpace music webpage by 31 March 2011.

Using the SMART tool to check my goal is clear…

  • It is Specific and Results-oriented – it says exactly what I’m going to do and achieve.
  • It is Measurable and Time bound – it’s quantifiable and there’s a firm deadline to it.
  • I know it’s a stretch but it is Achievable – I have a number of half completed songs that just need a concerted effort to complete with simple acoustic arrangements (Dylan’esque of course).

I’m motivated and committed. I have a reason (I need to work with words and melody to be a better musician) and I have support to keep me focused. Next step is to make the plan to make sure I’m aware of all the steps to hit my goal on time.  And of course making a public commitment works wonders on focusing me on the goal at hand!

It’s a well-worn cliché that change is never easy, but a clear goal is great start to get those times a-changing.

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From → coaching, leadership

One Comment
  1. Update March 28 2011 – Four songs written, recorded to demo standard and posted on my Myspace web page. Objective achieved! Next step, record and produce them to a professional standard for release on itunes later this year. Time to put down the guitar and draft some more objectives…

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