Rika Cossey


Setting Goals For The New Year

In Swedish, there is a greeting that we use at this time of year, just after New Year: God Forts├Ąttning! which translates to Good Continuation!. The reason I bring up this greeting is that it emphasises that even though we now have to adjust our dates to 2022, nothing has to fundamentally change. We could just continue with whatever was going on in December of 2021.

And yet, even I have made new years resolutions and have (mentally) written a list of things I want to do better in this new year. However, my list doesn’t contain anything outlandishly new to me. I have done everything before but I want to either get better at them or get back into them this year.

Am I smart or dumb at setting new goals for 2022?

When it comes to goal setting and new years resolutions, there is a whole bouquet of well-meaning advice and acronyms out there. You can join accountability groups, start a mastermind team, set SMART goals, join a challenge, or you can critically assess your DUMB priorities in life.

The undesirable DUMBness

DUMB new years resolutions are those that fall into any or all of the following categories:

D … Diffuse or Delusional or Date-less
U … Undeliverable or Unrelated or Unsupported
M … Murky or Missing accountability or Monsterous
B … Blind-sided or Biased or Beyond reach

If you have ever read anything about goal setting you will know that goals should be none of that. And that should apply to new year’s resolutions as well. If they are or have the potential to become anything like a DUMB goal, you are likely to fail. That’s what is implied here. Further, according to George T. Doran in 1981, goals should rather be SMART:

S … Specific
M … Measurable
A … Assignable
R … Realistic
T … Time-related

SMART goals come from project management and are most commonly used there because, you guessed it, goals need to be in reach. When I write a project plan, I want that project to succeed.

The desirable DUMBness

While I agree with SMART goals, for the most part anyway, I also know that I need to push myself more. I don’t want my new year’s resolutions to be another project on my task list. I want them to help me clarify who I am and what makes me me. And for that purpose, I like turning back to the acronym of DUMB, but with a twist:

D stands for Dream Driven and Daring
U stands for Uplifting and Unlimited
M stands for Motivating and Magnificant
B stands for Bold and Behaviour-Driven

In essence, I push myself to become a better version of myself in the new year. I allow myself to dream big and to act on those dreams. I turn who I want to become into a reality. And I continue to work on the legacy I want to leave behind.

Setting any goals

Whether you like these kinds of acronym games or not, they do emphasise something important: set yourself some goals, something attainable but bold. You can start SMART and turn (desirable) DUMB; you can begin with assessing your life and habits through the (undesirable) DUMB filter and turn towards SMARTer goals; or you can start (desirable) DUMB and turn SMART. Whatever fills your cup is right for you – as long as you start.

I know that good advice is never far away, especially at this time of year. My feeds are certainly filled with well-meaning infographics and quotes about how to make 2022 my best year yet. While that (somewhat) inspires me to think about my goals, no post in the world will do the job for me. If I don’t change my outlook, I will continue where I ended 2021.

So, whether you choose to continue what you have started in 2021 or pick up new paths in 2022, know that you will only ever be as good as the support you choose on your side. Whether it’s an app tracking your progress, a pet demanding your attention away from laziness, or a person holding you accountable – the right support will make you permanently better. And then you can make your goals both measurable and motivating.

And if you need a personal coach, someone to set goals with, check your resolutions, or keep you accountable, get in touch with me.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *