A SMART way to a New Year

It’s natural for us to want to better ourselves and even healthy to start the year off on the ‘right foot’ at the beginning of the New Year. A resolution can be the start to a great success story or the beginning of a new life.  This spark that can lead to great things if we can only keep it going full speed ahead.  The question is how do we continue to fuel that spark?  Often times we set a goal and within a few weeks it has fizzled out of view and long forgotten only to become next year’s endeavor.
Why do we do this year after year?  After all we have good intentions.  Is it lack of desire, need, or resources? Likely not.  The true problem often lies in the resolution.
Let’s think about what happens.  We create this huge goal for the year.  The possibilities are endless.  So let’s list a few goals.
Possible goals:

  • Lose weight
  • Exercise more
  • Eat better
  • Give more to charity
  • Become a better parent

Take a look. What is wrong with the above goals?  At first glance, you may say these are reasonable goals for the year.  At second glance, notice these are broad or big picture goals.  While great goals, they each lack when or how we are going to achieve this goal. So what should you do?
Time to make SMART goals for SUCCESS.  This formula can help you break down, define, and place timelines on a goal.

  • S- Specific: Make your goal as specific as possible. Take the example goal of losing weight. Questions you might want to ask yourself are: how much weight? By when or how many months do you wish to lose the weight in? How do you plan on doing this? For example, you might say you want to lose 50 pounds in 6 months by performing cardio exercise 5x per week for 30 minutes.
  • M-Measurable: How will you know when you have reached the goal? For example, if your goal is to lose weight, will you judge your weight loss by a decrease in body measurements, BMI, pounds on the scale, pictures, or loose clothing?
  • A-Attainable: Do you have the ability to achieve the goal? For weight loss,  you might visit your doctor to ensure you are healthy enough to begin a weight loss program. Questions you might ask are is it possible for a person to perform cardio exercise 5x per week for 30 minutes? Is it possible for yourself to exercise this amount? Is it reasonable to lose 50 pounds in 6 months?
  • R- Realistic: Is this goal and how you plan to achieve it realistic? For example is it possible for you to fit in exercise 5x per week for 30 minutes every week for 6 months into your lifestyle? Are there any barriers preventing you from doing so?
  • T-Timely: Is there a time limit on your goal: At what point should you have reached this goal? When you should you check to see if you are successful? Refer to the Specific category when you asked yourself when and how. In the above example, I indicated to lose 50 pounds in 5 months. So yes, there is a time limit.

SMART is a way to define the broad goal you have set.  Remember to be flexible with your goal.  If you begin a goal with the expectations that it’s realistic and you find the opposite, adjust the goal to fit your needs.  Your first goal will likely need some adjusting along the way. Remember the path to success is not a straight line.  Happy New Year!

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