Forget Resolutions: What’s Your Plan?

I bet many of you have resolutions you will make and attempt to stick to in the new year. Great. I hope you do keep those resolutions. The chances of that are not so good.

I don’t do resolutions. Especially for big things, such as losing 30 pounds. Oh my, that is a huge goal and probably beyond my capability to do in a year.

I do write down specific goals that I can make progress towards every day. So, my weight loss goal is five pounds, because I bet I can do that. My book goal is two books this year, with another two as possibilities.

And, I have a goal for my mailing list for this site. I have had a terrible time sending emails to my readers on that list. You folks deserve better than that. I now (finally?) have a plan to write a monthly email.

That’s because I have plans instead of goals, even SMART goals. Oh, SMART is: Specific, Measurable, Actionable (or Achievable), Relevant, Timely.

My goal for this site: Write a monthly email every month in 2017. (Attempt to) Send it on a specific day each month. Those are SMART goals that I can measure.

With goals, SMART or otherwise, I write down small, possible deliverables, so I can make progress towards my goals for this year and beyond. The plan for my email newsletter is to:

  • Draft each newsletter now, because they are evergreen content. They are my tips to creating an adaptable life.
  • Select a date each month to send the newsletter. I’m thinking of the 12th. Why the 12th? It’s a good number. No other reason. If I miss the 12th for some reason, I still have some possibilities before the end of the month.
  • Start my drafting on the 10th of each month so you receive it by the 12th. I can debug the inevitable problems I see.

That’s a plan of small possible deliverables that will get me to my goal of writing a monthly email newsletter for this site.

For me, resolutions don’t work. I won’t tell you how many years I had a goal of losing at least 10 pounds each year. But, in 2009, I decided I would weigh my food to understand portions better. That was my goal. I bought a good food scale and started to weigh my food. In the first nine months of 2009, I lost 10 pounds. Better weight loss than I had ever seen.

In the last few years, I decided I wanted to write more books. I didn’t decide to write more, or more books. I decided to write down small chunks of writing that might help me explore the content of the books faster. For me, that worked.

Maybe I’m contrary. (Okay, I am!) I find that working towards my goals obliquely is more helpful than trying to accomplish a big goal directly.

Maybe you can do resolutions. They don’t work for me. Plans work for me. Plans with small deliverables at least as often as once a week that help me achieve the goal I want. Note necessarily in a straight line, but will help me accomplish what I want to do.

You might want to make resolutions. And, I recommend you follow those resolutions with a plan. What will help you achieve your big audacious goal?

That is the question this week: What’s your plan?

2 thoughts on “Forget Resolutions: What’s Your Plan?

  1. Jim Grey

    My wife and I have a goal for 2017: finally merge households. We married in July but for various reasons relating mostly to our children we still live mostly in separate homes. As her older children launch, and as my youngest, who is high-functioning autistic, graduates high school and prepares for college, I need to prepare my house for sale. It’s a modest home, but needs some repairs and minor upgrades. I intend to do all of the work myself. In total it’s a large project. But I need to figure out how to break it down so that it not overwhelming at the start of it, and that I can project when I’ll finish based on the progress I’m actually making. Inch by inch it’s a cinch, yard by yard it’s hard — so in the new year I will be defining the inches.

    1. johanna Post author

      Jim, what a wonderful project! Back in 2014, we hired people to do the painting, cleaning, touchups, all that stuff. I suspect that when you do the work, you will find ways to say goodbye to your current home. Good for you! Yes, inch-pebbles are the way to go. (Let me know if you want more info about them.)

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