I read on Yahoo News this morning that the way to ensure you stick to New Year’s Resolutions is to ensure that they are, in management-speak, SMART. Having spent years in strategy development and research this is a term that is all too familiar to me. It is vital to include it in a planning document, but even as you write against the rather patronising acronym the tasks necessary to achieve your goals you get the sinking feeling that you are simply wasting your time.
For those who wish to remain blissfully unaware of what SMART stands for, look away now…
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely
Now, I am sure there are many very successful people out there who swear by this process. But for me, that is just what it is – a process. When making New Year’s Resolutions I for one cannot look at the next year in those terms. Who knows what is round the corner? How can you plan to change the way you behave or set yourself a goal for the year in so rigid a way in these uncertain times anyway? What about all those immeasurable things – family; happiness; love; a delicious meal; the pleasure derived from a bar of Lindt chocolate…
So therein lies a rather stuffy route to certain disappointment. The year goes too quickly; our health and finances are often too fragile and other people are frequently reluctant to fit in with our plans.
So – I have decided that I might lose a bit of weight; I might get a lot fitter; I might spend less on books (unlikely); I might stop worrying all the time (very unlikely); I might do more housework (hrmmmm..). I sincerely hope I do get to the end of this year having achieved those things. But I have decided that in 2011 I am not going to measure the success or otherwise of my resolve. No targets, no plans, no disappointment in myself, no feeling of failure if these things are not achieved. As long as I am still well and still HERE I will be thankful. Life is hard enough sometimes without being our own greatest critics after all.
Living life Fully, being Uncomplicated and Naked, no sorry – scrub the last one (though it could be fun – roll on summer). I mean New, seeking the pleasure in even the smallest things as I go and embracing opportunities that offer themselves; being more flexible, less fearful and more spontaneous. I will do all these things whilst trying to be the best person I can. All very difficult things to measure on the SMART-o-meter.
So (and acknowledging these may not sound fun to everybody) – some examples of things I have on my list of FUN resolutions:
1) Pursue my interest in history, regardless of the level of expertise I can reach. Regretting that my degree is in the ‘wrong’ subject is no reason not to go off in a different direction.
2) Continue to pester my readers into appreciating the life and works of John Keats whether they like it or not. He inspires me so may inspire others.
3) Take regular trips up to London to research my family history, even though I have to go by myself. Who knows what awaits me? Well I do actually – I lived there for 25 years after all, so what is the big deal?
4) Walk more, write more, photograph more, and live more. (No pressure there then..)
And of course I want to continue blogging. I may not get on the lists of any management gurus on twitter or Facebook. I am certain my new acronym won’t make it into any presentations by life-coaches but I hope that my readers will stick with me, so we can all enjoy the ups and inevitable downs of 2011 together. And I would be really interested in what you would have on your list.
I may be random, but I hope I can be FUN. Thanks for reading!