How to set SMART Goals to achieve your New Year's Resolutions
Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions yet? I have been asked this question one too many times in the past few weeks.
Every year millions of people around the world make New Year’s Resolutions, we resolve to accomplish personal goals, change undesired behaviour or even improve our lives one way of the other. A study from the University of Scranton conducted research on 200 people who made New Year’s resolutions, it revealed that people who made resolutions were 10 times more likely to make a positive change after six months compared to people who wanted to change but did not make a New Year’s resolution. So how do you set SMART new years’ resolutions? Here is how.
1. Get specific
Your resolution should be absolutely clear. A good goal is a specific goal. It tells you not only what you eventually hope to accomplish, but also the steps you must take to get there. Instead of simply resolving to “get out of debt,” a specific goal specifies the type and amount of debt, as well steps that can take to achieve that goal e.g. “I want to reduce my credit card debt by R 4000.00 by 14 April 2018, and will do so by increasing minimum payments each month.”
2. Track Your Progress
The next step is to define how you will measure your progress in reaching your goals, make sure that the measure of your progress is quantifiable. If you plan to lose weight, know exactly how many kilograms you will lose, and exactly how you will measure your progress. If you don’t measure your progress toward your goal, it will be impossible for you to figure out if you’re on track, therefore be sure to include exactly how you will measure your progress, as well as how often you will measure.
3. Make small, attainable goals
You can set ambitious goals, but make sure that you break down the goals into attainable steps. if your goal is to exercise more, don’t promise to hit the gym seven days a week. Instead, start small, twice a week and after a couple months re-evaluate if you want to step things up a notch.
4. Be Realistic
We’ve all been told that we should set goals, and we assume that we can – but most of us have never been taught how to set goals effectively so they are realistic and achievable. If your goal is unrealistic, or not well defined, then you’re setting yourself up for a failure.
5. Plan a time-frame
Time creates urgency, your goals should be time-based because, without a deadline, you can easily procrastinate and delay your progress toward attaining your goal. Time frames are your barometer for success, the way you assess your short-term progress towards the ultimate long-term goal.
It is easy to become a dreamer or an idealist when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, but always remember that your New Year’s resolutions are a tool to help you grow into a person you want to be, therefore creating New Year’s resolutions that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based is one of the most powerful strategies. Much as it is a tedious process...it is a necessary process.
Good luck and all the best in 2018!