The new year is a chance to ‘start over’ for many people. Along with the fireworks and toasts, you might be looking forward to some change in your life. You might even be one of those people who make new year’s resolutions. If so, do you feel that you try to stick to these resolutions but that, over time, your resolve dwindles and you eventually forget about your goal?
For many people, failing to instill change in their lives over time can make them feel that they are not in charge of their own lives. This, in turn, could lead to feelings of depression and frustration, especially if you’ve failed to make the same change several times over, whether it be trying to quit smoking or learning to play the guitar.
How can you try to avoid repeating the same pattern? One way is to focus on creating new year’s resolutions that are SMART. Here’s what this means:
- Make goals that are specific: know exactly what you’re trying to achieve. Instead of aspiring to just “lose weight,” consider how much weight you want to lose, and how long you want to give yourself to lose that weight.
- As the saying goes, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. So, your goal must be measurable. Consider ways that you can track your progress. For example, if you’re trying to improve your grades at school, you can track your course marks to monitor how they are affecting your GPA.
- Your goal must be achievable – something tangible that you can actually check off a list. “Spend 30 minutes at the gym, twice a week – Done!” Start small so you can achieve success and then build from there.
- A good goal should be realistic. Can you really squeeze out the time to write 5 blog posts per week with the stresses of your new job, your daughter’s after school activities and all that housework? If not, then you should cut down to a more reasonable target.
- Finally, your goal must be time-bound. This means that you must set a time and date for completion of your goal. For example, if you’re trying to add to your income for the year, set a goal of having an additional x dollars in your account by, say, December 31st, 2017. Smaller sub-goals, such as saving a certain amount each month, can help you achieve the larger goal.
Being able to set and achieve meaningful goals can be a source of satisfaction and happiness in our lives. So, this year, if you’re trying to set up new year’s resolutions for yourself, you can give the SMART strategy a try to create reasonable and attainable goals for yourself.
Happy New Year and happy goal-setting!