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Let's Resolve to Not Set Resolutions

Updated: Dec 29, 2020

We are AVA, a macro-learning environment for ambitious professional women. We provide weekly on-line content and timely in-person workshops to build critical workplace competencies. Send this to friends and and share on social media @advancewithava.


Do you take time – daily, weekly or monthly – to review your life? If you are like many of us, it seems there’s never time to reflect and plan. Are you feeling the pressure at this time of year to set some version of the obligatory resolutions?

Resolution Is A Decision

Our friendly Oxford dictionary defines resolution as a firm decision to do or not to do something and a goal as the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. Who wouldn't want to chase after the object of their desire? Pick goals every time!

Goals Increase Results

And the more strongly you desire your goal, research shows, the more likely you are to persevere and make it happen. In a study on overcoming the pitfalls of goal setting, Gary Latham and Edwin Locke researched more than 1,000 studies on more than 88 different tasks involving more than 40,000 male and female participants in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. Their conclusion showed that specific and challenging goals are effective in significantly increasing results. Furthermore, the more difficult the goal is to attain the higher the success rates.

The Thinking Behind The Goal Is Most Important

And here’s some great news for those of you who don’t like too much structure: the goal setting methodology and process is largely irrelevant. There are lots of different methods to choose from and it's a matter of preference which you choose. Most important, are the underlying thinking and conclusions. Studies show the key is 1) to pick what it important to you (Assess), 2) pick a specific goal and to write it down (Visualize), and 3) articulate the steps needed to get you there (Advance).

Think about what you strongly desire, describe in detail what that desire looks like and then write it down and put it wherever you want: slap it on your mirror, reference it in your journal, keep it in a spreadsheet, or put it in an app. Do it in a way that will often remind you of your goal and the steps you will take toward completing it.

How To Make It A SMART Goal And To Really Make It Specific

Here's a reminder about what a SMART goal is. It's an acronym for the important details in setting a goal. S = specific, M = measurable, A = achievable, R = relevant and T = time. For example, change "I want to get promoted" to "I want to be promoted to Senior Facilities Director with my current company and receive the accompanying salary increase by December 2020." And set tasks to help you advance your goal like, "I will gain clear agreement with my manager in January on the opportunity and subsequent steps I need to take to get promoted by December."


AVA is an acronym for Assess, Visualize and Advance. A big part of your goal process is assessing what you want in your current environment or situation. That is the part where you are really thinking about what you desire also. Visualize is looking at the options and expressing your specific goal, especially in writing. And the advance part is taking the steps to get you there.

In the example above, you have assessed that you have the desire and that there is a possibility to be promoted in your current company. Second, you have visualized the specific position and title you want: Senior Facilities Director. Third, you plan to begin your path to advancement by getting agreement with your manager on what the steps are to get you there.

So instead of writing a resolution, assess your current desire and situation, set a specific goal and visualize it by writing it down, and then take the steps you need to advance your career next year!


What topics do you want to discuss? Let us know in the comments below. #advancewithava

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