Ok, maybe the math doesn’t quite work out, but give me a chance here. While New Years Day is one of goal-setting and making resolutions for people around the world, for me it is a day that more often than not triggers feelings of failure. It reminds me of the unkept resolutions from last January 1st. It reminds me that I’m really not all that good at following through on those lofty yearlong goals that I set enthusiastically, knowing that this year it is sure to work!

This morning, Jon Acuff posted on his blog about why he is quitting new years resolutions. It’s not a call end goal setting altogether, but rather a call to set smarter goals. Here’s the basic premise, straight from Acuff’s blog post:

There are 365 days in the year. There are 7 core areas of life. (Spiritual, Financial, Physical, Social, Mental, Career, Family.) 365 divided by 7 is 52 and some change. And so begins my 52 & 7 challenge.

I can do anything for 52 days. I’ve had horrible dating relationships I survived for longer than 52 days. I’ve had miserable jobs I survived longer than 52 days. I can do 52 days. So can you…

This year, I’m only goal setting in 52 day chunks. I’m going to:

  1. Pick a goal or two in each of the 7 areas of life. (E.G. Physical = Working out 4 days a week.)
  2. Crush said goals for 52 days.
  3. Drop the ones I hate at the end of the 52 days, keep the ones I love and then work on a brand new set for 52 days.

The math works out such that if the first 52 day phase begins tomorrow, January 2nd (aka the day life really goes back to normal after the holidays), the final phase will end on December 31, 2013.

Now, I know that in order for this to be successful, setting goals is not going to be enough… so I’m working really hard to set up for success, making sure to follow these basics of successful goal-setting:

  • Write it down. Without writing things down, they will be easily forgotten a few months or weeks from now, if not within a few days.
  • Make it Measurable. This is the difference between I want to lose weight and I want to lose 10 lbs. Without a way to measure a goal, there’s no way to know when it’s been achieved.
  • Give it a Timeline. 52 days gives enough time to establish a habit, but doesn’t seem like forever. It’s manageable and puts the end goal within sight. Plus, it helps by putting on a little bit of pressure to not dilly dally.
  • Have a PlanI have a history of setting some really great goals with no plan on how I will complete them. I have learned over the past few years that I operate in certain predictable patterns, and there are certain things I need to do (or eliminate) in order to successfully complete goals. So, I’m putting things in place today so that I can start my first 52 day phase successfully tomorrow (Google Calendar Reminders, Evernote Notebooks, etc.). These are all tools that I’m already accustomed to using, so things should fit nicely into my day-to-day life.

And so, 2013 will begin, not with resolutions, but with manageable, measurable, time-constrained goals. I’ll share my goals for the first 52 day phase bright and early tomorrow morning.

Anyone else want to join me?

As for the remainder of this New Years’ Day? I think I’ll sit back, relax and recover from a busy week of Christmas Celebrations, and enjoy the epic tale of Star Wars Episodes 4-6 on BluRay.

Cheers!

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