If you’re like the vast majority of people who make New Year’s resolutions, you probably don’t follow through with them very often; or at least for more than a few months. I am certainly guilty of this and gave up making resolutions all together. Then I started making SMART goals that have given me a specific clear vision of what I want to accomplish and how I will do it.
“SMART” is an acronym for “specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound” requirements that can help you format a realistic goal:
1. Specific Goals
There are five questions you must ask yourself to create a specific goal. You need to ask what your goal is and why you are making this goal; what is it you want to achieve? Who else is involved that contributes to the problem or to the solution? Where and when specifically will this goal be accomplished? Is anything holding you back from achieving this? What can help you achieve it?
2. Measurable Goals
Use quantitative amounts. Rather than saying, “I want to lose weight,” identify an exact number you want to lose and you can even go further by identifying the specific amount of time you want to use to accomplish that goal. For example, “I want to lose 10 pounds by 3 months.”
3. Attainable Goals
Set a realistic goal and figure out how to reach it. If you want to “be able to bench press 350lbs in 2 weeks,” but you currently only bench 150 and you only workout once in a blue moon, that is not a realistic goal to have. Make sure you are capable to complete the goal you set and get a second opinion on it from someone who is able to give constructive criticism.
4. Relevant Goals
Have a goal that actually matters. Is this goal worth your time and effort? Will it improve your life? Will others support or benefit from this goal? The more relevant this goal is to your life, the more motivation you will have to accomplish it.
5. Time-Bound Goals
Make a time limit for your goal like a deadline for an essay. This can help you track your progress and make it easier to take advantage of your down time. Instead of sitting on the couch watching TV, you’ll more likely be working towards your goal.
The beauty of the “SMART” criteria is that it is universally applicable to any goal. No matter what your resolution is, shape it around SMART to help you achieve it.