Happy 2017 everyone! Did you have a good Christmas? Mine was lovely, apart from the fact that the entire family seemed to take turns getting sick. All plans for New Year's Eve celebrations quickly disappeared by the wayside, and I ended up watching the London fireworks on TV in my pyjamas, drinking lemsip. But in the interests of starting the new year on a positive note, I won't go on about it!
The start of a new year always gets me excited. It's the perfect time to take stock and reflect on the achievements of the past twelve months and to set new goals for the year to come. I don't tend to make the typical health or fitness related resolutions - I've been around long enough by now to know that I just won't stick to them, and that "everything in moderation" is the approach that works best for me when it comes to diet and exercise, throughout the year.
I do, however, love setting goals in other areas, not least this blog. One thing I'm determined to do this year is make sure those goals are attainable. I've always been ambitious, and I see that as a good thing, but in the past I've had a tendency to challenge myself with wildly unrealistic targets. This is counter productive, as all it does is set me up for failure and disappointment. There simply aren't enough hours in the day to start five new hobbies, excel at work, be a domestic goddess and spend more time pampering myself. As for turning into Rosie Huntington-Whitely, it's time to accept that's never going to happen.
It was my husband who first introduced me to the concept of SMART goals. Just in case you haven't heard of it, it's usually used in business but can be applied to anything. The meaning behind the acronym can vary slightly, but in essence it stands for Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic and Time-bound. Apply those criteria to any goal you wish to achieve, and you've set yourself nicely on the path to success.
Let's say, for example, that I wanted to set myself a target with my Instagram account this year. When it comes to Instagram, we all dream of having a large following, so it's tempting to set a goal along the lines of getting a certain number of followers by the end of the year. However, ultimately, that's not something I have any control over. No matter what I do, or how hard I work on my Instagram account, I can't force people to follow me (unless, of course, I buy those followers, but that's cheating, and we don't condone cheating, now do we?!) This is a good example of a non-action-oriented goal - There is no action I can take that will directly result in more followers, although of course this is what we all hope for if we create a pretty enough feed.
Instead, it's better to set a goal that's more focused on building my profile and improving the quality of my images, such as getting into a regular weekly posting schedule. To apply the SMART principle to this goal, I would first need to make it Specific - that is, decide exactly what I want to post and when. It then becomes Measurable, because each week I will know whether I have met my target or not. Crucially, unlike the follower-based goal, it's Action-oriented, meaning that my own action (of posting photos) determines my success or failure. Keeping things Realistic is important - for example, one to two pictures per day is probably doable for me, but if I try for much more I risk setting myself up to fail. Finally, I need to make it a Time-bound goal, so I know exactly when I'm going to post each picture, and can make sure I have set aside the time I need.
Dress* - Shein, Blazer - Zara (similar), Bag - Zara (Similar), Shoes - Topshop (Similar), Tights - H&M
By doing this, I set myself a target that I'm actually capable of meeting, which leads to feelings of positivity and, as a result, should spur me on to achieve even more. By contrast, feeling that you've failed to achieve something often leads to negativity and a slump in energy, so what on earth is the point of setting unrealistic targets? Hopefully, by approaching my Instagram goals in this new way, I should end up with a feed I can be proud of and the followers will... well, follow!
You can apply the SMART principle to any goal you want to achieve, whether that's something personal, blog related, career related - anything. I'm definitely going to use it to set new goals for my blog this year.
Have you set any goals for 2017?
P.S. If you're based in the UK and fancy winning a Wonderbra, you can still enter my giveaway here.