Welcome to a new year! It is such an exciting time to start fresh, re-align our goals and pave the way to a better us. Many people set lofty New Year’s resolutions and often give up before February. So how do we make sure we can achieve our goals? We write them down and make them SMART! SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound.
- Specific: the who, what, where, when, and why of your goal. This section also includes any obstacles in the way of reaching your goal
- Measurable: how are you going to track progress?
- Attainable: do you have the motivation and skills to reach your goal? If not, what can you do to learn and get support?
- Relevant: is this goal important to your life and where you are currently starting?
- Time-bound: having a timeline is important; make sure it is realistic, but not too far off that you lose steam.
An example of a non-SMART goal is “eat healthier.” There is a lot of room for interpretation and no measurable way to achieve your goal.
Instead, your goal can be “For the next two weeks (time bound), I will eat three servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables daily (specific, attainable and relevant). To track my progress, I will use a food journal (measurable) every day. In order to be successful, I will check in with my spouse for accountability. I know I may get derailed when attending social events or when I get stressed.”
When writing a SMART goal, it is important to make sure the goal is challenging enough to keep us engaged, but not too hard that we get discouraged. Maybe your long-term goal is to run a marathon, but if you currently aren’t running, you may not be successful with a goal of running a marathon next month. However, setting smaller goals along the way helps and keeps you motivated. Your goal might be to follow a couch to 5k program and run your first 5k in six weeks.
Not all New Year’s Resolutions or goals have to be health based. Your goal can be to save up for a vacation, read a book every month, spend time calling loved ones each week, or learning a new language.