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After The Aisle

It’s hard to believe that already 2015 is coming to a close. But, alas, it is. I don’t know about you, but this is one of my favorite times of the year. I enjoy being able to reflect on my personal and marital progress for the year, and use that information to plan for the next. I’ll be honest; I’m not a huge believer in New Year’s resolutions. I’ve learned (the hard way) that by creating a list of things that I’m absolutely going to do (yes, it WILL happen this year!) usually doesn’t work. I’m probably not going to lose 25 pounds by February 1st. And, it’s not likely that I’ll become a guru with my finances overnight. Contrarily, I do believe in setting realistic and feasible goals. Here I’ll share four tips for smart and successful goal-setting in 2016.

Be S.M.A.R.T.

Your goals should be S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. If you have ever had to sit through a company training or a 1-on-1 with your boss, then you’ve probably heard of this system. The reason being is S.M.A.R.T. goals actually are, well, smart. This system allows us to stay realistic and action-oriented while pursuing our goals. I won’t go heavily into detail, so in the interest of time (and attention span), I suggest that you read more about S.M.A.R.T. goals here, and make sure to use this method when considering your goals for the year.

Be Radical

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

We’ve all heard this adage. And there’s no surprise that we hail Einstein as one of our great intellectuals because the wisdom in this statement speaks for itself. Insanity IS doing the same thing over and over and expecting things to change miraculously. But isn’t that what we do anyway? I can almost guarantee that most people give themselves the same old resolutions that didn’t work this year (or the last). Yet, we do it anyway. We expect that somehow, someway this will be the year that our plan will wondrously, inexplicably, and finally, come to fruition.

Hogwash.

How about being a bit radical in 2016? Try something different, something that takes you out of your comfort zone, something that actually can change you for the better. Try it. If you always have fitness-oriented or weight loss goals, try a new fitness routine that you’ve never done. Try spinning, or swimming, or joining a local team. Don’t be afraid of thinking outside of the box this year.

Be Accountable

This is imperative. Personally, I enjoy creating my (sometimes lofty) goals for the year. I can always think of a zillion things that I want to try, finally achieve, or continue doing. As I’m sure you already know, the hard part isn’t conceiving the goal, the hard part is sticking to the plan and seeing the goal come to fruition. In short, the hard part is keeping oneself accountable.

The silver lining is this: you are already equipped with at least one of the necessary tools to succeed! As a married person, you have a readily available accountability partner – your spouse. Use your other half to help keep you accountable. This goes back to having S.M.A.R.T. goals; you must make sure that your goals are specific AND measurable so that your partner can gauge your success along the way.

Be Flexible

Keep in mind that there usually is more than one way to make it from point A to point B. Don't be afraid to be flexible. A willingness to change and adapt is essential in the pursuit of goals. As a writer, I always set writing goals for myself. However, if part of my S.M.A.R.T. plan is to write, say, 4x a week, and I literally cannot make the commitment, then guess what? I'm going to amend my plan. I'll change the plan to ensure that I am still setting myself up for success...and not creating goals that don't allow me any breathing room. Flexibility is key; not rigidity.

Image via Jazzymae Photography

I hope that these tips help you create some awesomely attainable goals for the year. Get to work! I’m ready for champagne and Auld Lang Syne. See you in 2016, beautiful brides.

Au revoir!

 

Angela Souza is a native Clevelander. She is wife to Omari, and mommy to Noah and Ezra. You can catch more of her work at Love Notes by Jazzymae Photography, a blog where she writes about the ins and outs of all things marriage. She also frequently contributes to For Harriet. Angela is a regular contributor for BlackBride.com. Follow her on Instagram: @its_angiesouza

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