Personal Productivity

On the subject of resolutions

AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
tags Goals

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On the subject of resolutions

As we approach the end of each year, many people make the usual review of what they have achieved, find out whether they feel good or not about it, and articulate a good set of resolutions for the new year.

According to this article, the top ten New Year’s resolutions are the following:

  1. Spend more time with family and friends.
  2. Get fit.
  3. Lose weight.
  4. Quit smoking.
  5. Enjoy life more.
  6. Quit drinking.
  7. Get out of debt.
  8. Learn something new.
  9. Help others.
  10. … And get more organized.

The funny thing is that, if you ask anyone, all these objectives rarely are met. Most people articulate the same previous year’s resolutions for the next year… again and again.

The problem is that resolutions are just wishes and dreams… These concepts are fuzzy, vague and ambiguous. If you really want to move forward, you have to set goals instead of resolutions. The difference is that goals have these so-called SMART properties:

  • They are specific: Transform Get fit into Go to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays after work.
  • They are measurable: How do you know if you’re progressing? Get fit cannot be measured, Go to the gym three days a week is perfectly measurable.
  • They are achievable: If your job and family are not permitting you to go to the gym during the week, you can articulate Jog 30 minutes on Saturdays and Sundays. Although, at this point, I’d recommend you to lose the fear to renegotiate your time with your company and your family ;)
  • They are realistic: If Win an Olympic gold medal in athletics is not at your fingertips, you should articulate something more reasonable :P
  • They are time targeted: Do not leave it up in the air. I'm going to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays after work, and I will start on January 9.

Good intentions often do not get into motion. Setting goals allows you to have long-term vision and short-term motivation. Now it is the time to be proactive and take the first step.

Strategic planning 12-3-1

A couple of years ago I found this simple planning method in a business book by Chuck Blakeman:

First, you set your goal for the next 12 months and develop, with no detail, a comprehensive plan to achieve it.

Then you focus on the next 3 months. What should be achieved in the next three months to get aligned with the annual target? Here you define an action plan for the next quarter.

And finally, what should be done in the next month to meet the quarterly target? Here you must define a specific action plan, where every action have a deadline assigned.

Every month you must plan for the following month and every 3 months, for the next quarter.

I use this method to plan my business, but I think it is valid for any project of some magnitude.

I hope that helps. Happy Holidays and thanks for being there! :)

Francisco Sáez

Francisco is the founder and CEO of FacileThings. He is also a Software Engineer who is passionate about personal productivity and the GTD philosophy as a means to a better life.

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