How to set New Year goals the SMART way!
Have you ever heard the phrase, “new year, new me”?
I sure have!
I don’t know about you but I’ve been guilty of making some New Year’s resolutions simply because it felt like the thing to do!
In our culture, it seems there is some unwritten rule that since there is a brand new year it must be time to hit the restart button on all our toxic or unhealthy behaviors and start over.
There are many ways people create these New Years resolutions. In years past I remember pulling out a bunch of magazines and creating a vision board for what I wanted to manifest in the New Year. Whereas other people simply get out the ol’ pen and paper and jot down their goals.
Any method you use that gets you closer to where you want to go is fine but what a lot of people quickly realize is that their goals often fall flat after the first few months of the year.
Ever wonder why that is?
It’s because most people don’t realize that the type of goals they set are actually the problem!
The good news is there is a goal setting method that sets us all up for success and I’m here to help breakdown how it works!
But before we dive into that, it’s important to understand why setting goals is even important in the first place:
Goals are essential to the human experience because if we are not feeling like we are progressing we do not thrive.
When we do not thrive, we often experience negative symptoms such as depression, anxiety, or an overall sense that we lack purpose. This can then trickle down to affect relationships with others causing people to isolate from loved ones or even act out by yelling at their partner or friends.
Have you ever felt defeated or like a failure because the goals you set for yourself didn’t come to fruition? I know I have!
Let’s rid ourselves of negative tendencies and try something new to better set us up for success!
So let’s dive into this recommended goal setting method!
The best way to set goals for the New Year that you will actually stick with is by using a method called SMART Goals!
SMART Goals incorporate using a lot of details.
A perfect example of why details are so important is to think of baking. If someone just says, “I want to bake a cake”, but does not follow a recipe either by memory or using natural-born skill, the cake may turn out more like a crepe! Recipes call for specific ingredients and have specific instructions in order to present a both delicious and visually appealing product!
The details to a recipe are essential to making sure you accomplish what you set out to bake.
The same thing goes when setting your New Year goals…make sure to include lots of details. By using the Smart Goals method you will be sure to do just that!
So what the heck does SMART GOALS mean, you wonder? It stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
Read on to learn what each of these 5 steps mean when setting SMART Goals to ensure you include all of the details needed for best success…
1.) Specific- it is critical to have a specific goal.
A popular New Year resolution is to want to lose weight.
Unfortunately, simply saying “I want to lose weight”, is too vague.
Instead try saying something more specific like “I will lose 10 pounds over 2 months”.
The more specific you are, the more it will set you up for success as it gives you something to point out in terms of your progression (or even regression).
If your goals are too broad, it is tough to know if you have truly reached them or made any progress toward them.
2.) Measurable– using something like weight, time, a date, etc. helps reflect evidence that we are either on track or have some work to do in reaching our goals.
Let’s use the same example above with the weight loss goal:
If I weigh 200 lbs and desire to lose 10 lbs in 2 months then at the 2 month mark if I weigh 190 lbs I know I have met my goal since I was able to collect data that could be measured!
3.) Attainable– when constructing goals, you want to ensure that the goals are actually realistic.
Pretend I told you I wanted to lose 50 pounds in one week. You’d likely laugh at me because that is entirely unrealistic!.
When you set goals for yourself make sure your head isn’t in the clouds and that it’s something that can actually be attained.
4.) Relevant– set goals that forge with your values, morals, and life-goals. Those tend to come to fruition as it is easier to support them.
Think of it this way! If I am a research loving person that seeks to lose weight, I may choose to have a goal that directs me to switch to a particular diet that has had a lot of research done on it.
In this case, if I choose to follow a strict Mediterranean diet then this would be considered relevant to achieving my goal of losing weight as there is clinical-based evidence that it promotes heart health and longevity among other things.
Knowing there is research and data that proves this dietary change can help me achieve my goal makes it not only relevant toward what I believe in but also a lot more likely to happen.
5.) Time- we need to establish an endpoint so we can reevaluate our goals to either consider them as achieved or to take the necessary steps to adjust them accordingly.
A great example is someone saying “starting this week I will go on a walk for at least 45 minutes per day”.
Another example is someone saying “I will spend 5 hours every week committing to meal-prep for the week”.
At the end of the week check in with yourself. Did you go for that 45 minute walk every day? Did you spend the 5 hours meal-prepping? If yes; then you can do a happy dance as your goal has been achieved! If no; that’s still ok. Now revise the goal to be a little more attainable for your lifestyle.
So, now that we’ve broken down what SMART Goals are and how they help increase the likelihood of achieving the goals you set; I challenge you to utilize this approach not only during the New Year but also during any time in your life in which you are trying to elicit change.
As an old colleague once told me, “make different mistakes”. If you aren’t meeting your goals by doing things your way, it’s time to try a different approach.
Setting goals and then actually accomplishing them is no easy task but I hope that this SMART Goals Method helps empower you on your journey of change!
If you find yourself having troubles accomplishing your goals and feel like it’s affecting not only yourself but your relationship with other people, Solid Foundations can help! Learn more at solidfoundationstherapy.com or give us a call at 630-633-8532 today!