We're almost two weeks into 2016, so you've probably assumed all the hoopla about making and sticking to your New Year's resolutions has died down. Sorry to break it to you, but I'm here with some expert advice to make sure your personal resolutions — and those for your facility — stick around even after you stop accidentally writing 2015 on your checks.
Last week we hit you with some tips for picking the right resolutions, since a useless or unattainable resolution isn't worth sticking with. So now that you know what you want to do, it's time for the how.
As with any good advice, this one's been broken down into an easy-to-remember acronym, courtesy of University of Alabama clinical psychologist Josh Klapow: S.M.A.R.T.
Set specific goals — Avoid cliche, blanket resolutions like “I want to get healthier” or “I want to improve my facility's Five-Star rating.” They're all well and good, but they're more likely to be attained if they're broken down into specific mini-resolutions like, “I will add a serving of vegetables to each meal.”
Monitor your progress — The calendar is going to be your best friend this year. Break your resolution down into daily, weekly or monthly goals. Mark them down on the calendar, and check them off when they're completed. Having those benchmarks visible will increase the chances that they'll be adhered to.
Arrange for success — Here's where all of those failed resolutions can come in handy. What's derailed you from seeing out a resolution in the past? Use that as fuel for your success. For example if your resolution is the ever-popular pledge to work out more, prep your gym bag the night before to save time — and an extra hit of the snooze button.
Recruit a support team — This item is especially crucial if you're setting resolutions for your workplace. Studies have proven that teamwork and outside support are incredibly beneficial to achieving goals. If your resolution applies to your facility as a whole, don't go it alone. By getting your staff involved, you'll drastically improve the chances of seeing your resolution through.
Treat your actions — As anyone who's ever trained a dog can tell you, behaviors that are rewarded are more likely to continue. The key here is to choose a reward that not only makes you feel good about making your resolution a habit, but reinforces it as well.
You've made your resolutions for the New Year, and that's half the battle. But as we get deeper into the year, and that initial wave of motivation recedes remember S.M.A.R.T. By turning your resolutions into a long-term habit, you're sure to start the year off on a smart note.
Emily Mongan is Staff Writer at McKnight's. Follow her @emmongan.