New Year, New You: Start Now!
Why is it so difficult to stick with resolutions? A new year rolls around and you have all of these ideas, dreams, and goals you want to tackle during the next 12 months. January flies by and you say, “The New Year is still fresh – I’ll start in February,” but it gets pushed off again, and again, and unfortunately, again.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why can’t we stick with it? Why aren’t we working towards what we really want?
Everyone’s answers will be different but one of the common threads is that our goals aren’t SMART. Setting SMART goals is a way of staying on track and a way of setting yourself up for success in accomplishing your goals, big or small. Thinking SMART can help us stay motivated, determined, and excited to continue with our goals.
What Does SMART Goals Mean?
- Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
- Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
- Achievable (agreed, attainable).
- Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
- Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
- It’s important not to make things too difficult for yourself when setting goals because your resolve will go right out the window.
SMART Goals in Motion
- Let’s say I wanted to begin journaling in 2021. I would start by making my goal SPECIFIC and simple: “I will write one sentence in my journal every day for a week.” I would remind myself why I want to journal and give myself some way to measure that my goal is being completed.
- My journaling goal is MEASURABLE and meaningful because I will see the dates of my journal entries, which shows me if I’ve been consistent. Jotting down something that made you smile is an easy way to break in that journaling idea.
- Journaling one or two lines each day is ACHIEVABLE and attainable because it doesn’t take much time and it begins to create a habit of writing every day: “One or two sentences don’t take that long, and it actually inspires me to write a few more!”
- This goal is RELEVANT because it isn’t a difficult goal. You’re not asking yourself to write a novel in one week (also attainable). You’re letting yourself see the progress in front of you: “Seeing the pages in my journal fill up is motivating, and shows me I can stick with it!”
- Having a TIME-BOUND goal is important because it keeps you on track. You could decide that you’d like to journal every evening before bed, setting your journal and a pen on your bedside table. That way, it’s accessible and only takes a second. Setting an end date can help establish how much needs to be done each day: “No pressure, just jotting down some thoughts before bed, but if I keep this up. I’ll have a journal entry for every day this month!”
What Works Best for You?
If your goals are things like working out, eating healthier, going for a walk every day, writing a book, or building that new piece of furniture, then you’re setting yourself up for success by starting small. What’s a realistic timeframe? What time of day works best? How are you going to keep track of your progress? When do you feel the most motivated?
Your goals should be things that make you happy — that help you get out of bed in the morning. They also don’t need to be big, complicated barriers. Your goals this year could simply be, getting more sleep, finish reading that book you started in 2020, drink more water, or taking more time for yourself. You’re in control of the energy you put into these goals and it’s okay if it’s only a little.
Let’s focus on bettering ourselves this year and make 2021 a year of SMART goals. You deserve it!
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