The new year is upon us and a common trend is to create New Year’s Resolutions. If you are like countless others, you begin the year with a full head of steam ready to take on the world, but easily get derailed, distracted and discouraged leaving the resolutions by the wayside. Often this is a result of not having a clear plan or trying to make too many changes all at once.
This year, let’s get S.M.A.R.T. about our resolutions and goals and actually achieve what we set out to do. Here is how:
S – first we need to set Specific goals, getting very clear on what it is we want to do, why we want to do it, who is involved, what obstacles we may encounter and where we will do this.
M – next we need to make sure that this goal is Measurable – how will we track progress and measure the outcome? How will we know when the goal is achieved?
A – we need to make sure our goal is Achievable, that it fits within reasonable expectations without undershooting our potential.
R – is this goal Relevant to and consistent with the other goals and plans you have for yourself? Will this goal fit your wants and needs? Does it coincide with who you want to be?
T – lastly, we need to be Timely with our goal – within what time frame will we accomplish it (day, month, year)? Be realistic with your end date, but be sure to set one in order to create a sense of urgency and importance.
Once you have your S.M.A.R.T. goals established, it is important to be really clear on how you will accomplish them. You may find that you need to create smaller goals within a larger one to make it more attainable. If you decide to run a marathon, never having run regularly, you will not simply get up and go out and run 26.2 miles. With something like this we understand the physical and more importantly psychological limitations. We understand the need to progressively work up to 26.2 miles over time. When we look at changing our eating habits or quitting smoking, however, we forget that we need to start small and work our way up to the large change.
If you are looking to make drastic changes, think of the large, end goal as the marathon and break it into smaller, more attainable chunks that will eventually add up to the full change. This combined with S.M.A.R.T. goals will put you in a much better position to achieve this year’s resolutions.