Are Your Resolutions SMART?

January 16, 2013 12:00 pm

New Year's Resolutions

It’s that time of year again. All over the country people are making New Year’s resolutions, whether they are to lose weight, quit smoking or save money. But whilst some people use the New Year to genuinely make a positive change to their lives, many just give up within a week or so. Perhaps part of the problem is that people don’t think properly about their goals for the year and just make vague sweeping statements, such as; ‘I want to eat more healthily’ or ‘I want to be more organised’. Success is hard to define for these goals, so naturally they are doomed to fail. However, this can be avoided by thinking about the goals you want to set and making sure they are SMART resolutions by following these rules:

Specific

It is very important to know exactly what you want to achieve rather than just making vague statements. Resolving to, ‘eat more healthily’, is pointless, as there are so many definitions as to what constitutes healthy eating.  ‘Lose weight’ is another common one – again, think about how you want to lose weight.

Measurable

In order to know if you have been successful, there needs to be a tangible target. This means having a system for measuring your goal and subsequent achievement. For example, if you want to lose weight think about how much weight you want to lose.

Achieve goals

Achievable

Many of us would love to lose a stone this year, or get a new job on £50k a year, or run a marathon, but it is important to be realistic in your goals. It is no good aiming to do something overly ambitious, as the chances of failure are high. Be ambitious, but aim for something you know is achievable – perhaps if you want to take up running, aim to complete a 5km race.

Relevant

It is important when making your resolutions for the year that you have the right motivations. A resolution should be personal to you not just something that everybody else is doing. If you’re happy with your weight, no need to try and lose any. If you don’t drink that often, no need to give up alcohol. Think about something specific that you want to achieve in your life and set your goals accordingly.

Track Progress

Timed

By definition, most New Year’s Resolutions are goals for the whole year and therefore your success or failure will be determined at the end of the year. However, there are goals which are geared towards other landmarks. For example, you may want to achieve something before your birthday or before your wedding day. Even with goals for the whole year, it is important to set a timetable of when you want to reach certain landmarks. For example, if you want to lose a certain amount of weight during the year it is no good losing it all at the beginning, or end of the twelve months, as you will have no motivation for the rest of the year. Aim for specific targets at various points throughout the year and you will be able to track your success.

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