New Years resolutions have a problem, as many of us already know. They don’t work very well.
It’s easy to set forth a fuzzy, unclear goal at the dawn of a new year… many of us have done it, and watched those goals fail from year to year.
If you really are prepared to make changes in your life, there are better ways to make New Year’s resolutions… and they aren’t really about making resolutions at all.
You may have heard of setting smart goals. SMART is an menmonic acroynym for a method of making goals that actually has a higher success rate. They’re a good example of a better way to pursue change than setting New Year’s resolutions, because they are specific in ways that resolutions usually are not. Here’s what SMART Goals include:
S – Specific: focused on one defined area
M – Measurable: progress can be kept track of in measureable ways
A – Attainable/Achievable: the goal is realistic, within the resources you have access to
R – Relevant: the goal is appropriate for you at this time
T – Time-bound: there is a clear timeline with a deadline for achieving the desired goal
Comparing A New Year’s Resolution To A SMART Goal
Many people make New Year’s resolutions to “lose weight” or “get in shape”. If you compare those resolutions to the list above, it’s easy to see why they’re not SMART. There’s nothing specific, measurable, or time specific happening in that resolution. Let’s imagine you made a S.M.A.R.T. goal and how it would compare.
“I’m going to get healthier by losing 30 pounds by April 1, 2016, by enrolling in the dietMD Hawaii Weight Loss Program, changing my eating habits and walking a minimum of half a mile daily, at least 5 days per week.”
It’s specific – weight loss. Measurable: 30 pounds. It’s attainable, because many of dietMD’s clients lose even more weight in that time period, and you’d have the support needed. Nor are you expecting to undertake drastic exercise, just light walking. It’s relevant – you want to be healthier, lose weight, feel and look better. The goal is also clearly time-bound. There’s a deadline, and the program also includes regular weigh-ins.
Are Your New Years Resolutions SMART?
If you’ve made New Years resolutions, it’s not to late to revise them to be SMART. Figure out if you’re being specific enough. Sometimes you’ll find you’re taking on too much at a time. One specific goal has a better chance of being achieved, and once you reach it, you can add another then.
If your goal isn’t measurable, it’s probably going to fail. How will you know when you have reached it?
Don’t self-sabotage. Goals that aren’t realistically achievable aren’t really about making changes, they’re about keeping yourself safely stuck where you are. You’re better off with no goal for the new year, than by setting one that cannot be attained.
Make sure you’re ready before you commit. Evaluate the stresses and other challenges in your life and decide whether this is the time to make this goal. If you do, it’s important to stick to to it, to help build your self esteem and the willpower to achieve other goals in your life.
Again, check the timeline. Are you being reasonable and setting yourself up for success? Do you have the resources and support you need to reach your goal?
Then go for it! Achieve your SMART goal And have a happy, healthy, successful 2016!