Having a SMART New Year
A new year is upon us, and with it countless new resolutions, goals, and aspirations. In fact, over 45% of Americans make New Years Resolutions. Unfortunately, only about 8% ever actually follow through and accomplish their goals. If you want to be one of the successful few, there are a few tricks proven to drastically increase your chance of success. This year, make sure your resolutions are “SMART”: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
In order to increase your likelihood of success, make your goals as specific as possible. Many people resolve to exercise more in the new year. Exercise, however, comes in many shapes and forms. Identify which specific types of exercise you enjoy, and how often you think you can fit exercise into your weekly schedule. A resolution like “I want to run once and weight lift three times per week this year” is a much more specific and useful goal than “I want to exercise this year.” By specifying what you intend to do, and even how often you hope to do it, your chance of sticking to it and succeeding is much higher.
Similar to being specific, making sure your goals are measurable If, for instance, you want to run more this year do not just say “I want to run more.” Instead, set a measurable goal for yourself such as “I want to be able to run 3 miles continuously by summer time.” If your goals are vague, like the first example, it is easy to talk yourself out of them, or stretch the truth to seem like you have accomplished them. If you never went for a run last year, you could run “more” by running one mile in February and never going out again. Does that really count as a success? Having measurable goals holds you accountable and helps make progress tracking and planning much easier.
Make it Measurable
Goals should be both attainable and realistic. For someone who has never ran long distance, resolving to run a marathon this spring probably is not realistic. Also, if you have a busy schedule and your goal requires several hours of devotion daily it likely is not attainable. Setting unrealistic and over-challenging goals usually leads to disappointment, frustration, and failure. Instead, focus on things you truly can accomplish. Your ultimate goal may be to run a marathon, but setting smaller, intermediate goals (i.e. run 3 miles by March, 6 by July, etc.) will likely be much more useful.
Always set deadlines for your goals. One year is a long time, and it is easy to get side-tracked and forget your initial goal. By setting specific, measurable, realistic goals and giving yourself short-term deadlines you will likely stay more focused and on-track. Also, setting short-term deadlines gives you the ability to re-assess frequently and update your goals throughout the year.
Keep it Timely
Whether your goal is to exercise more, lose weight, eat better, save money, or anything else, setting SMART goals is proven to help. Setting short-term, specific, and realistic goals will help you make 2015 your best year yet!