SMART Resolutions...

I guess I'll be kicked off the internet if I don't do some type of New Year's post (even though I did a 2012 recap, but that is so last year. har. har.) I asked my classes today what all New Year's resolutions have in common, and their answers were all basically the same... "They get broken." My favorite definition was from one of my third graders last year. When I asked the class what a New Year's resolution is, he said "Something grown-ups say they'll do and then don't."

Bingo, little man. Truer words were never spoken.

 Don't worry... I'm preaching to myself here. I am the world's worst about making New Year's resolutions that don't stick. I don't break them as much as I just forget about them entirely. This is especially true of any personal-type goals... like devotions or "attitude adjustments", etc. But, it also applies to things like my spending (even though I am doing better in that area, much to Jonathan's relief) and my diet (you know how I feel about those.) January is famous for its record sales of gym memberships, workout equipment, weight-loss pills, organizational material, etc... all the things that people want for a "fresh start."

So, why is it soooo difficult to stick to these things? Why can I hit the ground running, chugging water like there's no tomorrow, and by February be up to my ears in Mountain Dew (again?) Why is it that it only takes a few weeks (or a clearance sign) to "make" me break my budget? And how come we say we'll get better at _________________ (you name it) and then fall off the bandwagon? 

I don't know about the rest of you sloths, but one of MY excuses reasons is probably that I'm a teacher and live on a school schedule, so January doesn't feel like a new year to me. August feels like the start of my new year, because it's when school begins. January usually just feels cold and depressing since the wonderful-ness of Christmas is over and it's back to business as usual. It's hard to feel like a "new beginning" when you're in the middle of something (in my case, a school year.) Oh.. that, and I'm lazy so keeping to my lofty goals is kind of hard to do. 

While in the past I have actually sat down with a pen and paper and written out the infamous New Year's resolutions, this year I just had kind of a mental list. There is a difference, by the way, in resolutions and goals. Resolutions, to me anyway, have the idea of a change that is more intangible (I resolve to be _____) and goals feel more like an actual thing (I will DO _________.) Whatever. I guess it depends on what you're going for. But since I wanted my students to make some resolutions/goals for themselves, I had given it some though and came across this acronym that I felt was super helpful.

I love this as a litmus test for your goal-setting! Is it specific? Not "I'm going to lose weight" but "I'm going to lose 5 pounds by Valentine's Day." Or whatever. It is measurable? Not "I'm going to be an encouragement to others" but "I'm going to write one encouraging note a week." Is it attainable? If you JUST bought a treadmill, maybe you should work your way up to say, a 5K rather than shoot for a marathon in the next six months. Is it relevant? Will it make your life better NOW... or in five years? (I'm talking near future, not distant.) And is it time-bound? Can you achieve it (reasonably) in the next year? You might not be able to get out of debt this year... but could finish paying off one car? 

As an education major, I learned a lot about goal-setting in your classroom, and my professor (hi, Mr. Moots!) stressed, more than anything, that the best goals are short-term. If you set a short-term goal, it's far easier to make it SMART (the words above) and actually achieve it! The goals that never get reached are usually the ones that can't get reached because they simply aren't very practical. I'm not talking about your pie-in-the-sky, late-night-talk dreams for the future... just basic stuff that needs to get done now (or soon.) So don't give yourself the WHOLE year to do something... try one month (or week) at a time, since checking things off feels great!

I didn't intend for this to get so serious or advice-filled, but I guess it was more for me than anyone. I WANT (like you do) to make improvements in my life... in teaching, in my friendships, in my marriage, in my walk with God, in my finances, even here on my blog. BUT unless I make SMART goals and choices over the next few months, I will end the year how I started it... same weight, same financial frustrations, same unfinished projects, same pile of stuff covering my treadmill. (Okay, now I'm tattling on myself!)


Happy 2013 to ya... I'll keep my resolutions if you keep yours, agreed? Accountability is the best ability. (Okay, it's not... but that sounded good.) 



  1. I absolutely agree...January just doesn't feel "new" to me. I say we start a petition and get the new year to being in like...May or something.

  2. Wait, a treadmill ISN'T for piling stuff on? Who knew?

  3. Great resolution post!


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