smart goals

Towards the end of every year, I reflect on the past 365 days. The last few years, I’ve noticed a trend in myself. I start the year with a loose idea of what I want to work on, or gain, but at the end of the year, I always think “that wasn’t my year”. At the risk of sounding cliche, I will say – 2018 just wasn’t my year. That said, I’ve taken some time to reflect on why. Sure, it’s easy enough to say “I want to lose weight in 2018”, but how do I make that happen? Yes, I work out 5 times a week, and I’ve changed my nutrition immensely in the second half of the year. But was that always the plan?

The short answer is no. But before I get into what I’ve discovered, let’s talk about resolutions in general. Where did resolutions come from exactly? Resolutions predominantly have their origins in religion. The Babylonians, for example, made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans would begin each year by making promises to the god Janus, and that is how we get the month of January. But where it really started to take off in modern culture was at the end of the Great Depression. About 1/4 of American adults had New Year’s Resolutions.


In modern culture, the intent of the resolution is to improve yourself in some way. Maybe it’s eating better, exercising more, or getting out of debt. Regardless, though, why my resolutions have been lacking over the last couple of years is the way that I’ve framed them. To start, if I use the above example, a resolution is making a promise to yourself. But the reason that I struggle to keep these promises to myself is because I didn’t have any kind of plan in place to help me succeed.

That’s right. I wrote down my goals – like “eat two cups of vegetables a day”. That seems pretty manageable, doesn’t it? I didn’t succeed at this, but I also didn’t fail. I didn’t fail because it wasn’t a realistic goal. A better goal might have been “incorporate more vegetables into diet”. But developing a plan is key. Maybe it means attempting to eat vegetables at breakfast three times a week? Or including kale in my smoothie instead of making it fruit only.


There are some that I did fail at, like meditating more and achieving my goal clothing size. The reason is because I didn’t have a plan in place. Losing weight to fit into a goal clothing size is one that really needs a plan. Hitting the gym is going to be beneficial, regardless, but you’re just wasting your time if you don’t have an idea of what the end result should be.

Where am I going with all of this? To start, I am going to push myself to turn my goals into a reality by executing a well-created plan. Don’t get me wrong, this is a huge undertaking. Each goal has to be broken down into measurable and achievable steps. You also have to be prepared to pivot and change your plans throughout the year. If you find that you’re not losing weight, or you can’t get out of debt, you have to be able to assess the situation and come up with a new plan. You want to achieve these goals, don’t you? I’ve already started down this path, so I feel like I’m entering 2019 in a much better way. Stay tuned for how this works out for me!