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  • Writer's pictureJulie Love

Happy New Year!

From the Archive: January 2017

It might seem a bit odd to call the dead of winter the beginning of anything new. But this is how our modern calendar works, and it can be emotionally satisfying. After the mad flurry of activity that December brings (often starting as early as October), it can be nice to pause, catch our breath, and turn our thoughts to the future. It’s no surprise that New Year’s Resolutions are a tradition.

Unfortunately, it’s also fairly traditional to lose sight of these resolutions before February even arrives. It is hard to set goals. We have a whole new year ahead of us, perhaps a desperately needed fresh start, and we are eager to prove ourselves – so we declare our aspirations in broad, sweeping terms: Get in shape! Get organized! Be a better parent!

We should remember when we have a goal, it is not selling ourselves short to set our sights a little lower. You know those giant grand ideals always end up gathering dust in the back of your garage; you need to make your hopes and plans small enough to fit in your pocket, to keep with you. A useful mnemonic is to set SMART goals:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Resonant

T – Time-specific.

Most people remember there being something about the S, M, & T in goal-setting. Achievable is a tricky one – after all, don’t we like to believe we can achieve anything? But watch out for goals that are outside our control. You can’t set a goal of having dinner with the family every night if there are outside forces interfering, or if the rest of the family doesn’t share that goal. Resonant is just plain confusing – what does that even mean? Resonant goals focus on what really matters to us. Take the time to ask yourself why you want that goal, what does it mean to you? While nightly dinners might be impractical, a weekly game night, or good dinner conversation a few nights a week, could offer the connection you actually are looking for.

A little time reflecting can help you find a resonant goal that you can hold onto. And the dead of winter is a wonderful time to do that.

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