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Friday, December 30, 2011

Resolutions - Winning in 2012

Are you Resolved for 2012 yet? Have you set out the often-elusive goals of what you "hope" or "plan" to achieve in the upcoming year?

If spring is the Natural time for the world to awaken and begin work for the next year, why do we work so hard to begin our renewal in JANUARY??

We're a bit premature maybe. If we followed the calendar nature sets for itself, we would use winter as a time to be dormant and rest, using up energy stores (fat) set aside during the other three seasons. But instead of feasting during those months and fasting through the winter, when food is naturally harder to find, we turn nature on its head and have our largest feasts of Christmas and Thanksgiving.

We hit January, after two months of baking, feasting, partying and gatherings, feeling like we need to renew our vows to ourselves. We write down "resolutions" to go to the gym more often, start running, lose weight, stop smoking (or some other bad habit), etc.

In an excerpt from The Student Whisperer, a book about mentoring written by Oliver DeMille and Tiffany Rhoades Earl, it says, "Goals are something written that you want to accomplish. A commitment is much more than that - it's a promise. A commitment is a promise that you make... that you are going to do something specific."

I really liked this concept of setting down commitments instead of goals. Does the mere difference in words change how we view our written resolutions? I think it can - but it seems like a commitment is only worthwhile if it's made to someone who can help hold you accountable if you miss the mark. That whole support system again. I talked about setting up a support system in the last post.

Having a support system is one part of creating an environment to successfully achieve goals. Achieving your goals/commitments/resolutions (whichever of the words you are most motivated by) is rarely going to be easy. Stretching, growing, becoming someone "new" is painful.

Try these tips for reaching your every dream in 2012:

Follow the SMART (see below) system for achieving your goals,
Write the goals down,
Place them where you can see the list every day,
Visualize your success whenever you see your list and
Meet with your support committee every week (or two at the long end) to keep accountability for your progress.

I don't have a cute acronym for those tips (FWPVM just doesn't sound as catchy as "SMART") but hopefully you can remember those steps anyway. The SMART system, nutshell version:

Specific - say more than "I'll lose weight in 2012" - instead say you're going to lose 10 pounds by March, 2012

Measurable - Give yourself a way to keep track of your successes - put one of those little tickers on your e-mails/social media posts that show how far you've managed to run without stopping

Attainable - If your goals can't be reached, then you're only setting yourself up for failure. Don't aim to run a marathon in 3 months, instead aim for the 5k (See Spinster Beth's comments on the Couch-to-5K program as an example!)

Realistic - Sounds like the same thing as "Attainable," right? The reason this step is important is because a) it fills in another letter for the cute "SMART" acronym, but also because it reinforces the need for a goal to be something you're both able and willing to work for. Having that willingness firmly in place will more forcefully entrench the goal in your psyche, and you're more likely to reach success.

Timely - It is important that your goals have a specific date or timeline attached to it. Having that end time matters - it gives you something to work toward, it lends a sense of urgency to the goal and that sense of urgency gives it importance - something that makes it more likely to hit your calendar on a regular basis. Give it a timeline. Give the goal - and yourself - importance and value.


Good luck in 2012 - Know that you're worth every bit of Effort, every bit of Time, every Resource that you give to other people and events in your life! Take life for all it's worth!


  1. Interesting... I have always revisited my goals, priorities and plans in the spring. NYE just never felt like the right time.

    I figured it was because my birthday is in the spring, but your theory makes a lot of sense.

  2. Well, the Persian new year begins in the spring ... March 21st or 23rd. They feast, visit, buy tons of flowers and food, and spend the 13th day entirely outside for luck in the new year. Two weeks of new year celebrations! I guess our 'spring cleaning' is our outlet. For me ... it's planting a garden. The word "cleaning" is never going to have special meaning for me ;)

  3. I have such a hard time motivating myself to get up and go in the winter - especially since around here the "winter" weather doesn't really start up until January or February! For the time being I've decided to just "resolve" to live in the moment and try to keep an attitude of being happy where I am right now. I don't want to spend the next year wishing I could be somewhere else. I'll revise as needed when the spring comes 'round.

    Spinster Beth, your garden is TRULY impressive! I know that my potted plants (usually the aloe) love to visit the plant "hospital" that is your house (or is it a plant SPA??) I really hope to take a cue from you and do better this year about getting seedlings out there. We'll see. Planting the garden in truly shows me that it is time to stretch and grow and be OUTSIDE! Winter... is when I want to get rid of stuff in my house because I'm inside and surrounded by it all so much of the time!