Play it S.M.A.R.T. when making resolutions

Now that we’re about a week into 2012, have you made any resolutions? Have you already blown any? We asked our friends on the TCC Facebook page to sound off about their New Year’s resolutions, and we got some interesting responses.

Many included the usual suspects, like losing weight or studying harder.  For example, Rocio Gonzalez is determined to lose 100 pounds this year and run the 5K at the Cowtown Marathon in February. Karina Medina hopes to graduate with an associate degree in teaching this semester. We also received some unexpected answers, like this one from Jacob Lee. “Not throwing a chair at any of the idiots that I see myself having classes with,” he told us. “The other is to learn how to train wild packs of dogs,” he added. Remember to not say anything stupid if you have a class with Jacob.

Some of you resolved not to make any resolutions this year, but isn’t that a resolution in itself? It’s kind of like asking someone, “May I ask you a question?” Anyway, we applaud your efforts to make no more resolutions after your original resolution not to make any.

For those of you who still need to make a resolution or need some help following through, we suggest using the simple mnemonic device S.M.A.R.T. when setting your goals. There are some variances on the actual wording, but we’re going with Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

Make your resolution SPECIFIC
Try to avoid generalities when making your resolution. Instead of resolving to study harder this semester, you might resolve to spend an extra hour per week studying one subject that’s giving you trouble. Or in Jacob’s case, if you’ve resolved to train packs of wild dogs, you might choose a specific pack of wild dogs, or even one stubborn Labradoodle, to start out with.

Make your resolution MEASURABLE
It’s easier to reach a goal if you know when you’ve arrived. Resolving to get better grades is fine, but “better” is a general term. Resolving to get an “A” in a particular course is measurable when you get your report card. Or you might want to pick a measurable task that you want your pack of wild dogs to accomplish, like forming an ’80s tribute band. You’ll know you’ve reached your goal when they crank out A-Ha’s “Take On Me.”

Make your resolution ATTAINABLE
Okay, so having your pack of wild dogs play ’80s tunes by the end of the year may be difficult to accomplish, especially if they prefer ’90s grunge music. So you might want to train them to do something that’s within reach, like catching a Frisbee, or not eating you. Or if you’re trying to eat healthier, resolving to eat nothing but broccoli for 365 days is a bit unrealistic. But resolving to add broccoli to one meal a week is attainable.

Make your resolution RELEVANT
Ask yourself why you want to train those wild dogs. To prove something to yourself? To make your neighborhood safer? To be known as “that guy with the wild dogs?” Make sure your resolution contributes to becoming the kind of person you long to be.

Make your resolution TIMELY
You need to set a deadline for your goal to create a sense of urgency. You can have a looming, one-time deadline, like running in the Cowtown 5K on February 25; or a daily deadline, like resolving to spend 15 minutes a day training your wild dogs.

Put it all together to be S.M.A.R.T
So to sum it up, you could take a general goal like training packs of wild dogs, and make it specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely by tweaking into something like, “I want to adopt a dog by the end of the week and spend 15 minutes a day training it to catch a Frisbee by Spring Break so I can take it to South Padre Island and impress girls.” Good luck, Jacob.