January 26, 2019
*Update: A lot has changed since 2019! Our goals and resolutions may look completely different in 2022 than they did in 2019. However, it's important to always keep striving for the things you want in life, whatever that may look like for you. Use this as a guide to help push you towards whatever goal you may want to achieve.
Ahhh, the New Year. Welcome, 2019! This is the time for fresh starts, post-holiday fluff, and resolutions. We are in the last few days of January, the time for reflection of how your first month of the year went. Have you stuck to your resolutions? Or, have you already given up on them in hopes to try again next year?
The majority of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions (around 40%), but only about 8% of the resolution makers achieve their goals.1 That’s a rather small success rate. Fortunately for you, I’m here to help everyone achieve their resolutions.
But first, I want to change the way you think about resolutions. I want you to start looking at it like it’s a goal. Because, that’s basically what resolutions are, they are just goals you want to achieve within the upcoming year. So let’s start treating our resolutions like real, tangible, goals.
To create successful goals that you can feel good about achieving, you have to be “smart” about it. The key is S.M.A.R.T. goals. S.M.A.R.T. goals stand for, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. This technique can help you accomplish anything from weight loss, to fitness, work, cleaning, etc.
Let’s create a SMART goal together… We can take a common and popular resolution of weight loss and turn it into a smart goal.
Resolution: I want to lose 35 pounds!
Let’s break this down… We are off to a good start; we have a specific goal in mind. The exact number goal of 35 pounds is specific. So this gives us an “S”.
Next up for this goal is Measurable. We have the specifics of how much weight we want to lose, but we need to know how to measure our progress of our weight loss. What would be your preferred method for tracking your progress? For this example, we will use a scale. So tracking weight once a week on a scale is a measurable method to this goal. We now have an “M”.
All right, we are making progress. We are halfway there! Now we have achievable and realistic. Is this goal achievable within a realistic timeframe? Also, take a look at your past history for your goal. How successful were you in the past? What are methods you can take to be successful this time? Be mindful of your past to be capable of making positive changes for your future. This is a great place to try to make more mini SMART goals to help you achieve your big goal. By using this tool to create real, sustainable habit changes you are setting yourself up for more success. To be achievable, while staying realistic, let’s say we will walk for 30 minutes a day, 4 times weekly. As you progress, you can add more goals, change goals that aren’t working for you, and tailor it to fit your needs best. The letters “A” and “R” can now be added.
Last but not least to make this into a SMART goal is Timely. For this we need to think of a timeline that can be measured, so a specific date you would like to lose the 35 pounds. Ideally, healthy, sustainable, weight loss is at 1-2 pounds per week, so a great timeframe would be anywhere between 18-35 weeks. For this to be more specific let’s pick an exact timeline, and for the sake of the example we can pick somewhere in the middle with 24 weeks. By choosing to go a little more in the middle of the healthy weight loss range, we are giving room for weeks with plateaus, struggles, and reducing the pressure of such a time crunch schedule. The goal is to set you up for success, not struggles and failures. Congratulations, we have the last piece to the puzzle, the “T”.
Now let’s put all the pieces to the puzzle together:
Before resolution: I want to lose 35 pounds!
Revised SMART Goal: By walking for 30 minutes a day, 4 times a week, I will lose 35 pounds in 24 weeks. I will weigh myself weekly to record my progress.
We did it! Now we no longer have a romanticized idea of something we want to achieve, but rather a goal with an action plan. I hope you can take these tools with you through the rest of the year to achieve everything you could ever imagine. This concept can be used for a multitude of things from business, new hobbies, fitness, and more. Be smart with your goals, and you can achieve anything.
I wish everyone a wonderful and successful year. Now go out there and run this shit like you were meant to.
1. Diamond D. Just 8% of People Achieve Their New Year's Resolutions. Here's How They Do It. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/#76effa0e596b. Published January 2, 2013. Accessed January 27, 2019.
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