With the new year beginning we often set resolutions to improve ourselves while we feel the optimism of change and a full year worth of time to reach for better choices and make those changes we haven’t done yet. While this is a great practice of goal setting and self-improvement, resolutions that are broad and vague often don’t get accomplished. Statistics show less than 25% of people stick to their resolutions after 30 days and only 8% of people complete them. As a therapist I love helping my clients to reach their health and wellness goals and improve their everyday life. With this tip I hope your new year’s resolutions become attainable and help you start the year off the right way!
If you are making changes this year, a great way to boost your likelihood of achieving them is to set SMART Goals instead of resolutions! SMART Goals are a mnemonic for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant and Time Bound. This type of goal setting creates a solid idea and time frame to achieve change. Instead of saying “I want to start working out this year,” try, “I will go to the gym for a half-hour on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday after work each week.” To explain why this matters, each section is explained below.
Specific: When you give a goal action words “ I will” instead of “I want to” the goal changes from a passive idea to a task that you actively involve yourself in. This changes the way you view the goal and makes it something that requires your input to accomplish.
Measurable: Goals that can be measured allow us to see our progress. Often seeing an outcome to a task is more motivating than putting in work without noticeable return. If you are working on a goal that does not create a product like art or cooking, keeping a log of what you have accomplished and what still needs work can help you measure progress.
Attainable, Realistic: When present in a moment full of optimism and the feeling that you can do anything, our ambition can reach pretty far. It is great to have large goals that you want to accomplish, however, taking baby steps to get there will make the difference. Similar to learning new skills or changing habits our small daily choices make all the difference. When setting a smart goal aim for small victories to build upon. You can always move the goalpost and make your new goal a larger challenge, however if you begin with something too large, getting started may seem intimidating and delay our action. Remember to start small and grow from there.
Relevant: Goals that are related to our everyday activity are easier to incorporate into our busy calendars. If goals are related to what we do each day and are important to improving our immediate situation they gain weight and importance. A good example is learning a new language. It is easier to learn a new language when an upcoming trip or move to another country is planned and happening soon. Because of the time relationship between the usefulness of accomplishing the goal and setting it the importance is a factor and we are more likely to start and continue working on it.
Timed: Adding a time frame to a goal allows you to schedule time to put in work towards accomplishing the goal. It is easy to put off change if there isn’t a due date. With attainable goals setting small weekly or daily goals that will add up to the final goal will help to keep you on track and actively involved in attaining your goal.
So if you are setting resolutions and goals for 2019, be it getting a regular massage, going to the gym, or eating healthier, remember to be SMART! Start small and remember to celebrate your accomplishments along the way. If you have a SMART Goal I would love to hear it and hope that you succeed in your yearly endeavor!