How to Be Resolution-less (But Not a Slob) in 2015

As the final page of my 2014 calendar floated to the floor like a wilting flower petal, I turned my eyes to the bright, new year. Each empty, white square filled me with hope; every blank space was suspense, and I waited with anticipation to discover what could come. I could jot down anything I wanted in those tiny spots. Heck, I could even leave them blank if I wanted.

I could do whatever I wanted. However I wanted to. The whole year.

The promise of the coming year was nearly visible to the naked eye. If only I chose to stare long enough. And maybe cross my eyes a little.

“What do I want to accomplish this year?” I thought to myself. “If I could do anything I wanted in the next 365 days, what would it be?”

Lots of people set lofty resolutions at the onset of New Year-euphoria. January 1st almost becomes Harry Potter’s Platform 9 3/4, and all we have to do is run full speed ahead. Toward a solid wall.

As I sit here nibbling on red and green M&Ms, I realize 2015 won’t be the year I completely abstain from eating junk food. And, as my stomach balloons to the size of new life, I realize I won’t be getting a beach-ready body in time for spring break, either.

All of a sudden, the most popular New Year’s resolutions were scratched off my list.

And it felt good.

Because the truth is, the new calendar means a new timeline, not a new world or a new you.

So I repeated my original question to myself. It wasn’t, “How do I want to change myself this year?” The question was and still remained, “What do I—Kelsey Gillespy, with the gifts, strengths, and weaknesses that only I have—want to accomplish this year?”

And it was then that I made the resolution to be resolution-less.

Instead, I would be goal-ful.

You see, resolutions fail because they often cannot be measured or evaluated. And, quite frequently, they aren’t even realistic. They may sound realistic as you’re sprinting down Platform 9 3/4, full of hope and trepidation. But, in truth, they usually aren’t. And that’s why they fail. It’s like asking a kid what he wants to be when he grows up. He could say he wants to be the first man to walk on the sun and we’d all smile and nod at his creativity. But in reality, even if it were possible to live his dream, he hasn’t created the stepping stones to get there. So he probably never will.

Goals, however, are a different story—there are rules to setting goals. Which is why, unlike resolutions, a large percentage of people can achieve them.

Good goals must consist of several components, which make them SMART:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Timely

For example, when it comes to writing, one of my goals is to finish Capacity (the novel I’m working on) by April 1st. That’s a timely goal, since it gives me a deadline to complete my work. However, I can’t stop there, otherwise I might not know if I’m on track during January, February, and March. So, I crunched the numbers and now my goal looks a little more like this:

My goal is to write an average of 518 words each day (or 2,592 words/week) to complete my manuscript by April 1, 2015

This goal is specific and clear in my objective. It is measurable since I know how many words I need to scribble on the pages. It is attainable and realistic for me to accomplish those word counts in the allotted time I am given each day and week. And it is timely in that I must complete it by April. And, last but certainly not least, all those factors are within my own control.

In addition to my work on Capacity, I also plan to post one new blog entry each week, so stay tuned and keep coming back to visit!

In the meantime, I’d love to encourage you on your journey and pray for you in the pursuit of your dreams.  So, what do you want to accomplish this year and what are the SMART goals that will get you there?

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