For many Americans, the New Year is a time of reflection and tradition. While self-improvement is a shared American value, following through with goals is troublesome for many.
Since a mere 8% of the 40% of Americans who set New Year’s resolutions actually achieve their goals, what can we do differently this year to have a greater chance of keeping them throughout the year? Instead of choosing lofty or competing priorities, focus on small, attainable goals throughout the year. Create S.M.A.R.T. Goals
The acronym S.M.A.R.T. is a great tool to use when setting goals. Follow these steps to ensure success in achieving your New Year’s resolutions:
- S- Specific
A specific goal has a greater chance of being achieved than a general goal. Being specific brings clarity to the objective and erases ambiguity. For example, instead of “I want to be physically fit.” Say, “I will run for 30 minutes/4 days per week.”
Answer the following questions to set a specific goal:
Who is involved?
What is to be achieved?
By when will it be accomplished?
Where will it be achieved?
Why is this my goal?
By establishing criteria, you can assess progress towards your specific goal. This way, you are more likely to stay on track towards attaining the goal at hand. To determine if your goal is measurable, answer the following questions:
How will I know when it is accomplished?
Set goals that are stretched enough to challenge you, but also defined enough so that you can achieve them. You can reach any goal when you plan your steps wisely and set guidelines for attaining each step along the way. An attainable goal is motivating, whereas an impossible goal is debilitating.
When brainstorming goals, choose objectives towards which you are both willing and able to work. Make sure that each goal represents substantial progress.
Set your goals high in addition to being realistic. A high goal is easier to achieve as it provides more motivational force than a low goal. These achievements are often times called “labors of love.”
- T-Time Bound
Goals must be grounded within a time frame. This way you are able to assess whether or not the objective has been met. Timelines also provide a sense of urgency and motivation for achieving the task at hand.
Take a few minutes to devise some healthy lifestyle goals that you would like to achieve in 2016. Need a bit of inspiration? Here are some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions Americans choose:
- Lose weight
- Quit smoking
- Get fit
- Eat healthy food
- Manage stress
- Save money
Whether you start with any of the above popular goals, or have some of your own, make sure to walk your 2016 resolutions through the S.M.A.R.T. process to increase your chances of meeting them by the time the 2017 bell tolls! Happy New Year!