How to make your new year's resolutions smart
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This Acronym Will Help You Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

Setting SMART goals will help you to follow through with your resolutions.


It's that time again. The end of an old year and the beginning of a new one. The idea of a fresh start pushes us all to create goals for ourselves. Goals that we usually abandon sometime in January. They may be goals for our health, finances, relationships, work, or any number of other things. The reason we so often give up on our resolutions is that they're not solid enough. We can't make them stick. We can't make ourselves care as much as we need to. So, how do we change this? It's simple.

I took a college class in high school about life skills. In that class, I learned an acronym to help me achieve my goals. SMART. It describes the characteristics of successful goals.






To demonstrate each characteristic, I will use a generic goal: "Lose weight."


If your goal in the new year is to lose weight, which is a fairly common goal, you need to be more specific. What's the easiest way to make a weight loss goal more specific? Add a number! Instead of just saying you want to lose weight, be specific and say you want to lose five pounds or twenty pounds. That way you have something you can strive towards that has an ending, which leads to the next point...


Can your goal be measured? In the case of weight loss, it sure can. All you need to do is step on a scale. Now that you have a specific goal of losing a certain amount of weight, you can measure your weight loss until you reach your goal weight. If you just had the goal of losing weight, that would be harder to measure. Sure, you would be able to tell how much weight you had lost, but you wouldn't know when the scale reading was low enough.


This is a critical, yet often overlooked, aspect of a goal. If you set a goal that you can't realistically reach, then, of course, you're going to fail. Let's say you have a specific and measurable weight loss goal of 100 pounds. Is that attainable? Maybe, after a long period of time or a weight loss surgery. But if you go into the new year in hopes of losing 100 pounds in no time, you won't succeed. And then you'll want to give up. Make your goal more attainable by lowering the number of pounds you want to lose. After all, you can always make a new goal once you've reached that one.


This part might be a bit more difficult to understand. Basically, it means that the goal needs to be important to you. You have to really see it as worthwhile. Also, you want to make sure that it's a good time in your life to be striving for that goal. For example, during the holiday season, weight loss is a difficult goal to achieve. It's hard to resist all the goodies floating around that time of year. It may be better to wait until after the holidays to start losing weight. Otherwise, you may become discouraged and tempted to give up. Plus, you will probably find the goal more worthwhile when it's easier to achieve.


The last thing that your goal should be is timely. You should set a desired completion date for your goal. If you make sure your goal is time-bound, you'll be less likely to forget about it or toss it aside. Weight loss also applies here. If you want to lose five pounds, but you don't know by when, then it could take you all year, or even longer. Instead, give yourself a couple weeks or a month to reach that goal. Remember to keep it attainable. Don't force yourself to go on a crazy diet in order to lose weight quicker. Give yourself a healthy amount of time to reach your goal.

Original goal: Lose weight.

SMART goal: Lose 10 pounds between January and March.

Do you see how much better a SMART goal looks? You know exactly what you're after and how much time you have to do it. Also, feel free to alter your goals as your situation may change. Just don't alter them so much that you never achieve them. You should be able to apply this acronym to most, if not all, of your new year's resolutions. Give it a try. You'll find that it's a smart decision.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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