By Dulce Martinez
As the world turns the page on 2021 and enters a new chapter in 2022, people show mixed reactions upon reading these three words: New Year’s resolutions.
Some people love the idea of setting year-long goals to improve themselves. Other people view New Year’s resolutions merely as an excuse to write countless goals that end up getting abandoned before the middle of the year. Or even worse–before the end of January.
Especially with the coronavirus giving us a prolonged time of uncertainty, this creates room for our resolutions to fail. We then question: how can we stay committed to our New Year’s resolutions while still in the era of COVID-19?
Before you even think about grabbing that pen and journal to jot down countless goals for 2022, you need to ask yourself ‘WHY?’ Do you want to achieve that goal by the end of 2022? Or are you trying to hop on some trend that you randomly found on social media? (For the record, I have done that in the past.) Without a purpose, we are more likely to abandon our goals than commit to them.
Once we find purpose in our goals, we have to make them SMART. For those who don’t know, SMART is an acronym that stands for:
- Specific. This is the part that should answer why you even want to achieve that goal in the first place. The more detailed, the better! It should illustrate a CLEAR idea of what your goal for 2022 is. If you previously found the purpose in your goals, this should be easy for you to answer.
- Measurable. You should be able to have control by quantifying your goal. Make it a habit to track your progress––whether it be daily, weekly, or even monthly. No matter what goal you have in mind, it’s always a good idea to measure accountability.
- Achievable (or attainable). This is the time for you to reflect and plan out how you aim to achieve your goals. Especially with setting challenges for 2022, you need a game plan for approaching that goal and overcoming the obstacles that may appear during the year.
- Realistic. This is another time for reflection to see if your goal is something that you can accomplish by your desired timeframe. Can you really commit to that goal throughout 2022? Given your resources, are you able to accomplish that goal? If you honestly believe that your goal is achievable, then go ahead!
- Time-bound. All goals must have a certain deadline for completion or accomplishment. A deadline also motivates people to ACT according to their goals.
You’ve managed to write down your SMART goals for 2022. Now you’re done… right? Wrong. This is where the real challenge of staying committed to your goals begins.
Things happen: challenges appear, progress appears slow, our goals seemingly become irrelevant or even outdated–don’t give up on what you want to achieve by the end of 2022. If needed, tweak your goals once in a while based on how things are going.
It is also worth mentioning that progress is not linear. We need to stop being fixated on the idea that “success” appears as a straight line. Let’s be realistic: there will be twists and turns along the way. You might go backward, go around a circle or even go in zigzags. Regardless, every pitfall you may experience only gives you MORE strength to keep marching forward.
As the chorus for “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Gerry and the Pacemakers goes:
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone
This cannot be any more true for the world we live in right now. While it may sound silly, there is a silver lining to our world’s current state; we allow ourselves to re-evaluate what is important to us and what parts of ourselves we need to accept and/or change. As the world continues to strive forward amidst a period of uncertainty in the COVID-19 era, we must find solace in that everyone else in the world is also finding ways to better themselves for 2022.
Perhaps 2022 is the year we realize that starting with the right foot means that we should set GOALS, not resolutions. SMART goals. While resolutions are “decisions,” goals are decisions and actions.
As perfectly stated by Edward James Olmos’ portrayal of Jaime Escalante in the film “Stand and Deliver,”
“You’re going to work harder than you’ve ever worked before. And the only thing I ask from you is ganas. Desire.”
In the COVID-19 era, we should set GOALS for the year.
Art By Dulce Martinez