New Year Resolutions are out of fashion, I have something better for you!

New Year Resolutions are out of fashion, I have something better for you!


Hello everyone, Happy New Year to you all! I hope 2022 will provide you what you expect from it, and you will be able to get to your goals that you set for this year!

Did I hear you saying: no worries, you already made your new year resolutions? Or maybe that you don’t even make those anymore? Well, both of you are sort of right, making a few resolutions doesn’t mean you will certainly achieve them, but plans are still needed (regardless of new years). 

Making plans requires more than just making a statement like, “I will be a GrandMaster” or “I will finally beat my dog in chess”, because although saying these is a good start, these are just dreams, not real plans. But how should we make plans out of them then? Well, that’s what I would like to tell you in this article.

This strategy works not only with chess, it’s applicable for other plans as well, but in this blog I will focus on the chess related resolutions. So the method is about making SMART (it’s an acronym, not an adjective) goals, that can clarify your ideas, and focus on your efforts, while using your time and resources effectively and wisely, which will definitely increase your chances in achieving your objectives. It’s basically about breaking your main goal into smaller, detailed plans.

So what does SMART stand for?

SPECIFIC (simple, sensible, significant)
- Determine your goals clearly and expansively!
- What do you want to accomplish?

Good: “I will learn the Sicilian Dragon”
Bad: “I would like to improve my chess” (Which part of your chess? All? - That’s a huge task + not specific, so if you want this, break it into smaller parts f.e.: openings, endgames, calculation, tactics, strategy etc, but since chess is not this simple, you will need millions of smaller tasks)

- What will you do for it? Will it really help you to reach your goal?

Good: “I will watch masters explaining the Sicilian Dragon, I will read books on the Sicilian Dragon, I will practice it in my games, I will solve tactics are related to it, I will hire a coach to explain it to me, I will buy a course, etc. (the more ways you have in mind, the merrier!)
Bad: “I will study chess” (What exactly?)

MEASURABLE (meaningful, motivating)
- Make it quantitative, associate measurable units to it!
- Numbers like time (hours, minutes), count of puzzles, games, rating etc.

Good: “I will solve at least 10 puzzles a day” (You can solve more? Great, do it! But make a minimum count for your bad days also)
Bad: “I will play practice games” (How many? In what period - day/week/month?)

ACHIEVEABLE (agreed, attainable)
- Are the necessary resources accessible? (Courses, videos, books, time, money, etc)
- Is your goal attainable? Don’t over or under calculate your opportunities!
- Is there someone you can count on? (Training partner, someone to push you, provide you material, etc. Not everyone has to know your intentions, because they might discourage you, but find a few right people to share it with!)

Bad: “I will be a GrandMaster this year” (If you are not any near that level, getting there requires a LOT OF work and dedication, at least 7-10 hours of daily training, tones of sacrifices, like time and money, to be able to participate on national and international tournaments where you must go in order to get better and gain experience, and for years and years. It’s great if you wanna be a GM one day, but it doesn’t happen in a short period, be realistic!)

RELEVANT (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based)
- How does your talent + interest help you? (Don’t only do what is easy/interesting for you to study, learn the harder things also!)
- Is your goal realistic? (There is no overnight magic, whatever you pick will need serious dedication!)
- Will you really feel better if you achieve it? (Are you sure you want that or it just sounds good? Are you ready to sacrifice things for that?)

Bad: “I will learn all the openings!” (Are you really interested in all? Do you have the time to learn all and in the meantime fix your other chess mistakes?)

TIME BOUND (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive)
- Make a deadline for your goal!
- Determine how much time you have available, and how much time and how you want to focus on your goal each day/week/month!
- Make key-dates (small deadlines for smaller goals), when you also check if you achieved what you planned for that shorter period (see what you wanna achieve for example by every month/3 months/half year)

Sounds better than a simple statement, right? And no, you are not keeping all these in your head, get a booklet or open a document on your computer/phone where you can keep track of your plan and how you are doing about it all year! I personally have a booklet as you can see above.

Don’t base your plans on what your best self can do only, because during the year you will be your worst self as well sometimes (which is completely normal, we are not robots, are we?). Also, make a free day option too (like every week/month), when you can rest guilt-free, don’t burn yourself out!

You don’t have to do your plan perfectly, because perfectionism, believe it or not, makes you quit faster. Baby steps will do too. Don’t be afraid to change plans during the year if you think it’s too much and you can’t do it, or if you feel you can do even more! Try out what you are capable of!

Oh no, now I have to do it too, to set an example  

Feel free to share your chess-related resolutions and thoughts in the comment section!

For more content and interaction you can find me on these platforms: 
Twitch                YouTube               Twitter               Instagram                 Discord                 Club