If you want to create lasting change this year, set the resolutions aside and create SMART goals.
At the beginning of a new year, many set out to achieve a list of resolutions. Often, people are overly ambitious in setting their resolutions, creating a long list of things they want to accomplish without creating an action plan. In fact, research done by Statistic Brain shows that only 8% of people who set resolutions achieve them.
Last week, we gave you a list of 20 wellness goals to inspire you this year. Instead of writing out resolutions this year, we encourage you to give goal-setting a try. Here’s how to approach your goals the SMART way!
What are SMART goals?
Let’s start with an example.
I want to exercise more in the new year.
This goal is very general and doesn’t provide you with steps or an action plan to get you closer to your goal. When you start with a goal that’s too broad, it can be hard to know where to start to work towards achieving your goal.
Introducing the SMART goal setting philosophy. SMART is an acronym used to guide your goal setting. To set your goals and create an action plan, ensure that your goals are:
S – Specific
Clearly define what it is you want to accomplish. This will allow you to focus your efforts and feel motivated to reach your goal. Ask yourself:
What do I want to accomplish? Why is this important to me?
For example, many people set a resolution to exercise more in the new year. This goal, however, is too general. Instead, create a specific exercise goal such as taking a walk on your lunch break, so you have more energy in the afternoons.
M – Measurable
Ensuring your goal is measurable allows you to track your progress. Ask yourself:
How much? How many? How will I know when I’ve accomplished this goal?
If your goal is to take a walk each day on your lunch break, it’s easy to measure your progress and know if you reached your goal that day. Tracking your progress can motivate you to stay committed to your goals.
A – Achievable
It’s important to know your limits while also setting a goal that motivates you! For a goal to be successful, it must be achievable and realistic. To create an achievable goal, ask yourself:
How will I accomplish this goal? Are there any constraints that would prevent me from achieving this goal?
If your lunch break is 1 hour, you may set your goal to walk for 30 minutes, so you have time to enjoy your lunch and take your walk before your break is over.
R – Relevant
Set goals that are relevant to you and your life in your current season. If taking a walk on your lunch break isn’t motivating, choose something that IS motivating. Ask yourself:
Does this seem worth it? Does this align with other goals I want to achieve? Do I have the time for this in this season of my life?
T – Time-Bound
Give yourself a deadline so that you have something to work toward. Ask yourself:
What is a reasonable time frame in which I can accomplish this goal? What can I do each day to work towards my goal?
If your goal is to take a walk each day, check-in with yourself at the end of the week or month to track how many days you met your goal.
Revisit your goals for this year
Let’s do back to our example of wanting to exercise more regularly. A SMART version of this goal might be:
I want to take a walk (specific) each day (measureable) that is 30 minutes long (achievable) because I want to improve my health (relevant). I will do this five days per week for one month (time-bound).
Creating meaningful change starts with SMART goals. Take a more intentional approach to goal setting so you can become the best version of yourself in 2022!