Archive | December 2011

New Month Resolution Tactics

As promised, here are your tactics for creating your
New Month Resolutions for 2012.  

If you haven’t had a chance to read the background to these tactics,
please feel free to read it here when you get the chance.

When it comes to crafting your resolutions, we’re going to follow the SMART model.

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Reward
T – Timely

For these tactics, let’s go ahead and steer away from weight loss since that example has been done so many times you could probably recite it in the comments without blinking an eye.  So I’m going to go ahead and use a skill acquisition goal that I’ve been procrastinating and hopefully you modify these techniques to your own goals.

New Year Resolution: To learn and become well-versed in calligraphy.

So this is a pretty simple and straight forward goal.  I want to learn calligraphy.  I want to be good at it.  And I want to do it in a year.  This is certainly an achievable goal (unless for whatever reason I broke hands or something).  This skill is a little harder to measure, but since we want to make sure that it’s a measurable goal, let’s go ahead and say that becoming well-versed in calligraphy means that I can write in at least 10 different font styles without referencing anything.  

  • REWARD: The reward is the new skill of calligraphy, but like I said before, this overarching goal will probably fail unless we set up monthly checkpoints.  So onto the next step.

First Month Resolution: To read “Calligraphy: A Course in Hand Lettering” and learn the fundamentals techniques of calligraphy.

Again, this goal is very simple and straight forward.  It calls for completion of a single book (the specific and measurable aspect), and to learn the fundamental techniques of calligraphy taught in the book.  This is certainly attainable since the book is not that long and as long as I put aside the proper time, it’s perfectly achievable.  The timeline is a month to do actually a pretty simple task.  By keeping it simple and easy to achieve, the likelihood that I’ll actually do it is increased that much more.  If I had made this month’s goal overly ambitious, I may not even want to get started on the goal, much less complete it.  

  • REWARD: A brand new calligraphy set.  Nothing too fancy.  This reward works particularly well because instead of spending a whole bunch of money to try and accomplish a goal you think is achievable at first, you will invest a little bit of money, and then prove to yourself that you’ve invested a whole month of time into actually doing something.  And as a result, you deserve to invest some more money into accomplishing the goal.

Month (2-10) Resolution: Learn one new font per month.

From this point on, it’s a matter of breaking down the goal into simple actionable steps that are easily achievable.  Based on my understanding of my own abilities and calligraphy, one font a month shouldn’t be terribly difficult for me to do.  

  • REWARD: Dinner of My Choice!  Now this may seem like a small thing to you, but I LOVEEE food.  So a chance to go wherever I want guilt free would be GREAT!  Plus, in light of the fact that I’ve learned a new font, I will write invitations to people I want to celebrate with me in the new font I’ve learned!  Talk about a great way to show off my new skill while celebrating in style!
Final Month Resolution: Practice alternating between fonts and recalling them at a moments notice.
This is more a wrapping the loose ends type of goal.  It allows for a little breathing room in case some of the fonts from the other months are a little harder to master than others.  By doing so, you ensure that the goal will be properly completed by the year’s end.
  • REWARD: I know I said the reward was the skill of calligraphy.  But screw that, my reward is going to be a brand new tech gadget for my awesome arsenal.  No idea what it will be as of right now, but if I manage to complete this big goal, a shiny new toy is waiting for me.  Muahahaha.
So there you have it.  An actionable plan that will ensure that your goal is actually accomplished.  And in case you are feeling super ambitious, go ahead and break the monthly goals into Weekly Resolutions that have mini-rewards as well.
One piece of advice though, don’t break your goals all the way down to Daily Resolutions.  Too much planning and micromanaging of your goals can actually end up killing the process since life is unpredictable and having your process interrupted constantly will end up being very discouraging.
Thank you to everyone for taking the time to read this.  2011 has been a rough year for many, but let’s go ahead and seize 2012 for our own shall we?  And for those who want to tell me the world is ending, well, I guess we better be extra productive with the time we have left then!  Happy New Years!


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New Month Resolutions

Andddd I’m back!

Now I considered waiting until after the New Years to start posting again, but then I realized that I’d be passing up an opportunity to write about another old-fashioned tradition that needs a solid makeover.  That’s right.  We’re talking about New Year Resolutions.

Wait a second now… isn’t this post called “New Month Resolutions?”

You’re absolutely right.

When it comes to New Year Resolutions, only a small percentage of people ever really accomplish any of their goals.  And within that small group of people, even less of them actually finish the whole list.  Why is that you say?  Are we lazy?  Unable to commit to what we set out to do?

The answer is yes and no.

You really can’t blame yourself.  If I told you that you needed to work at your job and slave away for 60 hours a week, but that I would only pay you once a year,  I guarantee you that a majority of people would start out saying no or quit part way through.  And the same thing applies to New Year Resolutions, you’re talking about these grandiose overarching goals that are supposed to be worked on over a THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FIVE DAY time period.

Now I recognize that some people’s goals are things like “Finally go visit The White House because I’ve been living in the DC Metro Area for 30 years and never been.”  These goals are pretty easy to cross off.  But let’s the face the reality, and the facts are that almost EVERY single New Year Resolutions will absolutely have one if not both of the following:

  1. Weight – Lose weight, eat healthier, go to the gym, get fit, get six pack abs, you name it.
  2. Money – Save more, spend less, pay off loans, become debt free, etc.

And the thing is that there is nothing wrong with trying to improve these two things.  I mean after all, our life is pretty much centered around our health and our money.  But the goals end up being these HUGE and GRANDIOSE things like…

  • Lose 50 lbs by the end of the year.
  • Save $25,000 for a down payment on a house.
  • Pay off $80,000 of school loans.

There are so many things wrong with goals like these.  But here are the top three mistakes with most New Year Resolutions:

  1. Overly Ambitious – I get it.  It’d be great if you could save up $25,000 for a down payment to a house by the end of the year… except… oh right… let’s not forget that over the last five years you’ve barely managed to save 10% of your paycheck every time the bills come rolling around.  And you want to save $25,000 in 12 months?  Come on buddy, let’s be real here.
  2. No Tangible Reward – Now some of you may think: “Wait a second, isn’t completing the goal a reward in itself?”  And the answer is one big NOOOOOOOO.  When it comes to these big goals that everyone has, the reward is so far ahead that the end is not even in sight.  In other words, that’s like me telling you that there’s a huge pile of money sitting on an island 5,000 miles away from shore.  It’s there alright, except you have to swim across shark infested waters.  And did I mention that you won’t see the island until you’ve pretty much swam the entire way?
  3. The Timeline of a Year – This is the ultimate failure of most New Year Resolutions.  A year is just simply too long of a time table for anyone to actually commit seriously when it comes to goals that are generally very discipline heavy.  Think about how many things you’ve procrastinated when it was simply due next week.  And you want to talk about a task that’s supposed to be done in a year?  Dream on.

In the end, I don’t know how many failed New Year Resolutions you want to go through, but for me, twenty three years is about good enough for me.  Instead, let’s have New Month Resolutions that are a subset of the New Year Resolutions.

In the interest of not having an overly gigantic post, the tactics for creating your new resolutions for 2012 will be posted tomorrow!  

Sabbatical #2

Hey everyone.  Sorry to take another break so soon, but final projects and presentations are due these next two weeks.  As a result, I’m going to be very, very M.I.A.  So with that being said, I’ll see you guys in two weeks!