If you’re list most people, you’ve set a few resolutions this year. The new year, provides the opportunity to create a ‘new you’. Licensed Psychologist Dr. Alexandra Bodden says goals provide us structure and a sense of purpose.
Often however, many people aren’t able to achieve their New Years Resolutions, because they are vague and lofty. In order to reach that goal you need to make SMART goals.
Set SMART goals
S – Specific: the who/what/where/when of the goal, eg: Take trip to Hawaii by Dec. 30 2016 vs. Go on vacation. The more clear and specific, the more likely we are to be able to effectively take steps to get there
M – Measurable: eg: “Go to the gym 3x/week” vs. “Get back in shape” OR “Spend 1 hour a week playing golf/playing with the kids” vs. “Have a better work/life balance;” if it is observable and measurable then it is easier to know if we have reached the goal or not; this provides feedback to encourage and motivate us if we accomplish it, or allows us to evaluate why it was not reached and consider what we can do differently the next time.
A – Achievable: don’t want to set ourselves up for failure; if something is not possible then there will be no end in sight and likely any progress will not be as rewarding. Be realistic given your limitations for you as a person and your environment (work, family). If you do not have 3 extra hours a day to go to the gym or to play golf, then having that as your goal is likely going to be frustrating, disheartening and disappointing. Make a small change that you can maintina, eg: golf for 3 hours 1x/week.
R – Relevant: no good if not related to our priorities. If a goal is not important then it is also not likely to get done. Consider what is most important to you and use this list to inform your goals and then develop subgoals that are smaller and more manageable to help you get there.
T – Time bound: often difficult to get moving without deadlines as people often procrastinate and ahve a hard time beginning tasks without a time limitation set on it. This also gives you a set time to review progress and make any changes/corrections to increase success or efficiency along the way without losing as much time/energy/money that we would have otherwise.
Other ways to achieve your goals, is to keep things positive. Our brains work much better when we focus on what to do, rather than what not to do. Dr. Bodden also suggests you write down your goals. When you write things down, you feel more committed and more compelled to complete them. Also prepare for ups and downs. There will be difficult times but every day is a new day.