Forget the resolutions and create a Personal Challenge

Set a (1)
The other week, my husband was telling me about an article he had read about Mark Zuckerberg. One of the things in the article that stood out to my husband, and now to me, is that each year Zuckerberg sets a goal for himself. He calls these goals “Personal Challenges” and they include things like, learn Mandarin, read two books a month, or meet a new person every day.

What strikes me about these goals is how different they are from most people’s general yearly resolutions. Resolutions are usually things like, lose weight, get organized, stop smoking etc. But what sets Zuckerberg’s personal goals apart from these resolutions is the specificity of the goal and that instead of being punitive – they are generally cumulative. So instead of ending a behavior or taking something away, he is adding to his life.

His goals also follow the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting guidelines.

If you are not familiar with that acronym, I’ll explain: SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. And per many people, all goals should be SMART goals.

A goal needs to be specific. Instead of saying that you want to lose weight, be more specific about exactly how much weight. Or if you want to get organized, detail exactly what that means to you. Then figure out how you will measure this. Weight is fairly straight forward, but for organization you may go room to room or use a clean desk as a measure.

Achievable just means that the goal needs to be something realistic. I can set a goal to go to the moon in 2017, but that is far from achievable. It is good to challenge yourself, but important to be realistic about what is possible. It may be hard to become a professional rodeo star in a single year, especially if you already have a full-time job as an accountant.

Relevant can mean that the goal applies to you and your life or your family, and Time Bound is the deadline you give yourself. If you want to achieve your goal by the end of the year, your deadline is pretty clear.

So, all that being said, I have decided on two personal goals for myself for 2017, and here they are:

For years I have been saying that I am going to start making hard copy photo yearbooks that include all the important, fun, funny photos taken in that year. And yet, I do not own a hard or even digital copy of any such thing. But, this is the year!

Personal Goal #1 is to create photo year books for the years 2010-2017. That is eight photo books. Less than one per month. I feel that this is very realistic and achievable, and I also know that I will be creating at least seven of them in December 2017 to make my deadline.

Personal Goal #2 is to create a digital copy of my address book. Currently I have a spiral bound address book that is held together with a large rubberband. I have had the same book for over a decade, but I think it is finally time to part ways. And really, this shouldn’t take more than an evening or two while watching my shows – but it has been something I have been putting off for a long time.

The great part of these goals is that they are something to strive for. Something I can work at throughout the year. And when I achieve both goals, I will feel empowered and proud. Quite the opposite of how many people are no-doubt already feeling about their resolutions.

So, regardless of how you feel about Zuckerberg or SMART goals – I challenge you to challenge yourself this year! Take a few minutes and write down a personal challenge. Make it specific and measurable and hold yourself accountable. And just wait and see how you feel in a year when 2018 rolls around and you have achieved your goal!

Cheers – Emily

Check out more of my writing on my blog: Please Send More Wine

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