The start of a new year always sparks new inspiration to start setting new goals, creating new habits, starting new projects, and on and on. However, as well intended our New Year’s Resolutions may be, we often begin to lose sight of our goals, and usually let go of them all together. According to one source, about one third of individuals who make a New Year’s Resolution will give up on their resolution before the end of January!
This year, let us try a novel approach: S.M.A.R.T GOALS.
I am sure we have all heard of SMART goals mentioned, one time or another, and for a good reason: SMART goals work, because... they’re SMART!
Before we dive too far into our SMART goals, let us talk about why some of us will lose sight of our resolutions. This usually happens because they are not the “right” resolution for us… and more often than not, they fall into one or more of the following categories:
- Our resolutions are based on what someone else, or society, is telling us we need to change
- Our resolutions are too broad, too vague, or unclear
- Our resolutions have no realistic plan or steps or timeline to help us achieve them!
While New Year’s Day may have come and gone, you can still commit to a new Resolution – It’s not too late to start one. It doesn’t have to be this big life changing goal, it can be a small habit you want to start incorporating, or working on. Here are a few ideas, in case you don’t have one and would like to challenge yourself to take one on:
- Incorporate Meditation
- Practice Journaling
- Spend Time Outside
- Take Time to Unplug
- Drink More Water
- Money Management
- Learn a new skill
- Be more active
- Mindful Spending
- Eco-Friendly Changes
- Start gardening
- Read more books
- Cook more
- More Crafts/DIYs
Now, once you have a Resolution in mind, this is where SMART goals come in. “SMART Goals” was born in 1981 (I did the math, so you don’t have to, that’s 41 years ago!), and has been a successful tool for many individuals ever since. SMART is an acronym for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Specific: Your resolution should be absolutely clear. “Making a concrete goal is really important rather than just vaguely saying ‘I want to lose weight.’ You want to have a goal: How much weight do you want to lose and at what time interval?”
Measurable: Logging progress into a journal or making notes on your phone or in an app designed to help you track behaviors can reinforce the progress, no matter what your resolution may be
Achievable: This doesn’t mean that you can’t have big stretch goals. But trying to take too big a step too fast can leave you frustrated or affect other areas of your life – affecting both you, your friends and family.
Relevant: Is this a goal that really matters to you, and are you making it for the right reasons? “If you do it out of the sense of self-hate or remorse or a strong passion in that moment, it doesn’t usually last long,” Psychiatrist, Dr. Michael Bennett.
Time-bound: The timeline toward reaching your goal should be realistic, too. That means giving yourself enough time to do it with lots of smaller intermediate goals set up along the way. “Focus on these small wins so you can make gradual progress,” Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit” and a former New York Times writer, said. “If you’re building a habit, you’re planning for the next decade, not the next couple of months.”
Your resolution is a journey – it won’t happen overnight. Be patient and kind to yourself! Find yourself an Accountabili-Buddy. You don’t have to do it quickly, quietly, or alone! Research studies have shown that individuals who open up and talk about their goals have a 65% chance of succeeding. Additionally, those who partnered up in their goals (aka: Accountabili-Buddy
) saw success rates of about 95%!
“Only you can take responsibility for your happiness, but you can’t do it alone. It’s the great paradox of being human.” - Simon Sinek
Good luck this year… now go get your SMART goals on!
Where I got A LOT of my info (because you know, Plagiarism/Copy Write Laws, etc.):
Created by Jocelyn Posos, Assistant Director