It’s a new year and you’ve probably vowed to become a New You. Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions or Goals or set intentions for ourselves with the new year. No matter what you call it, how are you ensuring you stay on track so you achieve your resolution, intention, or goal. We are midway through the month of January and many of us have already given up. Why is that? Maybe we’ve lost our direction or our drive. It’s easy to get side tracked but we can implement a process to help us stay focused. There are five steps we should follow to help us set resolutions or goals that we can stick with to achieve our goals. You may have heard these things before, but we often forget them when we are in the thick of our daily activities. The five things make up what is none as SMART goals. This week’s blog serves as a reminder to some to stick to the process and to others to start the process. Grab a notepad and a pen to take a few quick notes and you’ll be on your way to success in no time.
The first thing you should do to ensure you set a resolution that you can stick with is to make it SPECIFIC. If it is too broad you’ll get distracted due to frustration because you don’t know what you are trying to achieve. You may be trying to do too many things at one time or bouncing around from one thing to another. For example, if your resolution is “to get healthier this year”, that is too broad. The question to ask is ‘what is healthier?’ ‘what does healthy mean to me?’ ‘how do I plan to get healthier?’ There are many ways to get healthier: You can exercise. You can eat differently. You can work on spiritual or mental health. And so on and so forth.
The second thing you should do to ensure you set a resolution that you can stick with is to make it MEASURABLE. How will you know if you’ve reached your goal? Using the example above, if you revise your goal to “you want to be healthier this year and will implement a reduced calorie diet and start to exercise.” To make this goal measurable, you could say ” you want to implement a 1200 per day calorie diet and exercise for at least 30 minutes five times per week.
The third thing you should do to ensure you set a resolution that you can stick with is to make it ATTAINABLE. Is it realistic? Does it depend on someone or something else to attain? If you said you wanted to implement a 500 per day calorie diet, that would not be realistic or attainable, at least not long term. It would be unhealthy and could be deadly. That would be too few calories to sustain your body. Or, another example is if you are dependent on a spouse to prepare your meals but they don’t want to make healthy meals, they prefer the meals they’ve been making. In this case, your goal may not be attainable because you will struggle to reduce your calories.
The fourth thing you should do to ensure you set a resolution that you can stick with is to make it RELEVANT. Is this something you actually want to achieve or are you doing it to please someone else? Does it make sense for you to try to be healthier in this way? Maybe for you focusing on a 1200 calorie per day diet doesn’t work for you. Maybe you’d prefer to focus on eating vegetables, lean meats, and a few high fiber carbohydrates for lunch and dinner with one cheat meal per week. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself on the goals you set. If it doesn’t fit your lifestyle, it may be difficult to stick with and obtain.
The fifth thing you should do to ensure you set a resolution that you can stick with is to make it TIME-SENSITIVE. You must timebox your goals; it’ll help you push yourself. If you don’t have a timebox on the goal then you won’t take it seriously because you don’t have a deadline to shoot for. You don’t have a milestone to by which you can measure your progress. When setting a timebox you may want to set milestones leading up to the date you plan to have achieved the goal. Milestones help you stay on track by pushing you to achieve smaller goals along the way. Using the same example, you could set a goal to get healthier by implementing a 1200 calorie per day diet and exercising for 30 minutes five times a week in an effort to lose 25 pounds by September 1, 2020. You should include checkpoints (milestones) to weigh-in once a week or once a month. This will help you assess how well you’re doing so you can make adjustments if needed.
Now that you’ve set your SMART resolutions or goals, you MUST TAKE ACTION. This is the next step after setting the goals. Setting SMART goals don’t matter if you don’t do anything. You’ll have a nicely written plan and not be healthier nor have any weight loss. In taking action, you should find an accountability partner to keep you honest on your goals. Tell someone about your goals and ask them to hold you accountable to yourself to do what you said you were going to do and don’t get mad when they actually start doing it.
Are you ready? Are you ready to rock and roll to meet your goals?
Lets get it!