Why I don't do New Year's resolutions anymore

This Friday has been nicknamed “Fail Friday”. The Independent released survey results which indicated that January 24 is the day that most people are expected to break their New Year’s resolutions. Citing past results, author Adam Withnall states that “the average length of time a person can expect to keep to their promise is around three and a half weeks, or 24 days.”

A few years ago, I stopped making New Year’s resolutions. I didn't see the point of making any if they were only going to be broken. Instead, I have been doing goal setting for the year.

It’s much easier than making a resolution. It’s not a big deal if I take a break on learning a piece for a spell, just so long as I meet my goal by my milestone.

It is also more realistic to meet a goal than try to keep a resolution. If my week winds up being too busy from work, it’s perfectly OK for me to skip learning a new kanji for a couple of days, seeing as I set a goal to learn and master one a week.

Although I haven’t completely written out my goals for 2014, I know that I’ll have up to three goals in the following areas: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, social and financial. Usually, I start with my professional development goals as they seem to be the easiest for me to articulate.

Along the way, I have learned to just start by setting a couple of goals in each area. Having over 10 goals in each aspect of my life wound up being unmanageable.

I know I’m a little behind the 8-ball on this. However, so long as I have all my goals written out by the end of January, I’ll be happy. This leads me to another reason why I don’t do resolutions anymore. Setting goals and achieving them is less stressful than trying not to break a resolution.

My piano students have heard a lot about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals in school at in music. For those unfamiliar with the acronym, S.M.A.R.T. stands for:

S - Specific

M - Measurable

A - Achievable

R - Realistic

T - Time Sensitive (or “Timely”)

There are several variations on what the acronym stands for. You can read about them in Duncan Haughey’s article, “SMART Goals” .

Here are some articles on how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals:

Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Goal Setting Worksheet for SMART Goals: Step by Step

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals and Objectives