I’m loathe to set myself any resolutions. People do, obviously. However, the receive wisdom seems to be that most folks who set resolutions don’t keep to them. I suspect people set themselves a goal without really considering the implications, or the practicalities of achieving it.
Consider the SMART goal setting mnemonic. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (or some slight variation thereof). If you define something to this criteria, you set yourself a reasonable goal.
For example, if you don’t add a target date to a resolution, when will you know if you’ve achieved it. However, too little specificity in the date might as well be no goal at all. If you say I will lose weight in 2014, when do you aim for? The end of the year? Seriously – that can be achieved by crash dieting for a week and losing… well, losing what?
Specific says what you plan to do. Measurable sets the amount. Attainable opts for something you can reasonably achieve. Relevant keeps it tuned in to you. Timebound adds a deadline.
So, if you say you will cut your chocolate consumption down to one 500g bar a month – because right now you’re eating chocolate like there’s no tomorrow – that’s a SMART objective. On the other hand, saying you’re giving up eatign unhealthy food isn’t specific or measurable. Without the detail, how can it be attainable or relevant. And, again, it doesn’t set any kind of reasonable time parameter.
Having rambled, what might I SMART-ly set myself as a goal for this year?
- I will read one paperback fiction book a month
- I will read one history text book a month
- I will read one gaming supplement or core book a fortnight
- I will exercise for at least 30 minutes a minimum of four days a week
- I will monitor and record my calorie intake, keeping to a target that will stabilise my weight – which likely means about 1,500 calories a day
- I will run the following games, for at least one 3-hour session this year: Numenera, Pathfinder, The One Ring, TimeWatch, Hillfolk, Feng Shui, Star Wars: Age of Rebellion, AGE of Warhammer
- I will play the following games, for at least one 3-hour session this year: 13th Age, Pathfinder, Hillfolk
- I will review one new game supplement or corebook a week
I hope that gives me an entertaining year!