Every year we go through the same old motions. We recap the previous year, add up all our wins and compare it to our losses and think, what happened to my resolutions? There aren’t many people who set resolutions and there’s an even smaller percentage of people who are successful in achieving them.
Resolutions Need to be S.M.A.R.T.
Resolutions should not be vague. I’m sure you’ve heard of S.M.A.R.T. It’s a good place to start when talking about resolutions and goals. Defining resolutions should begin with the following:
Make Them Specific
I used to make vague resolutions every year. It was rarely successful in reaching them. One reason: my resolutions were too vague. There was no meat to my resolutions and I forgot about them 2 months into the year.
The first step in defining your resolution this year is to make it specific.
Here’s an example:
I’m going to get into networking
I will get my CCNA by studying every day for the next 6 months so I can be ready to take the exam and pass in June 2019 so I can be prepared to get into networking.
Make it Measurable
Goals that aren’t written down are nothing but a dream. With the example above, I started with a vague statement. It wasn’t measurable at all. When I further defined it I added a pass date of June 2019. That makes it measurable. It’s precise.
We can go further to say that each practice exam you take you want to score 80% and higher. That’s measurable success to your CCNA studies.
Is It Attainable
With a resolution now written down, read it over again and ask yourself, is this attainable? Can you commit the time and resources to achieving your resolution?
We often times make unattainable resolutions in the beginning of the year. One time I said “I’m going to get my CCIE”. Realistically, that just wasn’t going to be possible for me to do within one year. I had two young kids and was working long hours. It was far out of reach. Unattainable. Also, most people study more than a year for the CCIE.
Take another look at your resolutions to identify which ones are truly attainable this year. Can they be done in a reasonable time frame.
Is It Relevant?
Why did you make that resolution? Are you going for a certification to help you get a new job? Is it to get a raise at work? Or maybe you want to increase your technical knowledge. Whatever the reason may be, it must be relevant. You should know why you’re going after this goal to begin with. The relevance of the goal will help put your mind in the right place.
Make It Timely
A resolution should not be made without a plan. Simply saying the resolution out loud will not help you achieve success. Create a plan which outlines the steps to get to the end result.
This is where you can make an actionable step to your resolution. If we take the earlier example, getting a CCNA, what steps should be taken to get it? There’s reading, practice labs, and practice exams. Those steps can be broken down to even smaller actionable steps.
Resolutions may be a temporary start to the new year. But it’s possible to tackle even the smallest resolutions. It takes focus and prioritization.
I’ve modified Warren Buffett’s 5/25 rule. His rule is simple: You write down your top 25 goals. Circle your top 5 goals out of the list of 25. You then focus only on the top 5.
The way I’ve done my resolutions for 2019 was to select the top 5 goals I can complete within 6 months. Now I can achieve more faster in a shorter period of time. Of course, looking at these goals they have to be S.M.A.R.T.
I have them written down and tracked. I’ll look at them regularly to see where my status is.
Here are my resolutions for the first 6 months of 2019:
Pass my CCNA Wireless with over 90% by February 1st.(Completed a little after Feb 1st)
- Maintain a healthy eating lifestyle and lose 20 lbs by June 1st. (Didn’t make the date and didn’t lose any weight ☹️)
- Create a CWNA email course on Clear To Send by March 15th. (Didn’t get around to making this yet ☹️)
UPDATE 12/22/19: What did I manage to achieve in 2019 that prevented me from reaching two other goals above? I worked pretty hard on my business to increase clients and revenue. There was a lot of research done for the Clear To Send podcast so we could publish weekly episodes. And at the end of the year, I completed one out of two assessments for the CompTIA CTT+ certification.
To be honest, you won’t hit all your goals. We’re not perfect. Life happens. But with a process we can be one step closer to achieving them.
Or you can keep a simple resolution which works well for me:
Be Better Than You Were Yesterday