It seems like people either love New Year’s resolutions or hate them. Which camp do you fall into? Statistics show that only 10% of people stick with their New Year’s resolutions. The way that we set goals and resolutions has a lot to do with how well we succeed with our goals.
People who set SMART goals, a specific type of goal or resolution, have a very high success rate. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-related.
Let’s break it down…
Specific: You can’t hit a blurry target, so make your resolution very specific. For example, instead of “I want to run a marathon sometime this year” make it “I will train all year and run the Arizona Rock ‘in’ Roll Marathon in January of 2017.” Here’s another example. If you love yoga and want to develop a home yoga practice, a specific goal might be “I will practice yoga at home for 30 minutes three times a week.”
Measurable: A goal must be measurable to be achievable. Say your goal is to improve your health through improving your cholesterol levels this year. Set an appointment with your doctor at the first of the year to determine an improvement to strive for that you can track and measure against.
Achievable: Your goal must be achievable. Really give some thought to your goal make sure you are willing and able to achieve it. Think about the reasons you want to achieve your goal. Dig deep and unearth the intrinsic motivators for your goal. When you know the deeper reasons why you want to do something, it will help you achieve it. You’ll also want to assess for obstacles and make sure you have a strategy to overcome them. Review your current lifestyle routines and write down what you need to change to achieve your goal. Enlist the help of a family member or friend to help you stay accountable, if needed.
Realistic: Your goal must be realistic. For example, if you are a person with diabetes and take insulin, it may not be possible to eliminate diabetes and stop taking insulin. But, through diet and lifestyle, you may be able to improve your overall condition. Meet with your doctor to set a realistic goal for improving or better managing your condition. Here’s another example: If you are in overall good health, but new to an exercise program, setting a goal to compete in your first triathlon may be a bit ambitious, but running your first half marathon by the end of the year is very possible.
Time-related: Your goal must have a time frame attached to it. Open-ended goals are not achievable goals. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds this year, determine when you want to lose the weight by and then how much you’ll need to lose each month to stay on target toward your goal.
Now, Make it Visible and Enjoy the Ride!
Once you have set your SMART goal or goals, post them in one or more highly visible places around your home. Regularly remind yourself why you are striving to achieve your goal. Reward yourself with small treats at key milestones along the way. Most of all, have fun on your journey to reach your goal.