New Year, New You Through SMART Goal Setting
Each year it rolls in like the fog on a chilly winter’s morn. January. For some, this month can be quite depressing. The holidays are over and all the cheery decorations and sparkly lights have been put away for another year. For others, January is a time of new beginnings; looking forward to 365 days of new possibilities. For me, January came as a welcomed reprieve from all the holiday celebrating this year.
Most of us typically start January by coming up with our New Year’s Resolutions. Many of us resolve to lose weight, save money, or exercise more in the coming year. And most of us fail within months if not weeks of our said resolutions due to lack of a plan to execute our resolutions. The fact that so many of us give up on our resolutions got me wondering about what could be done to help people succeed at their goals. When I was a teacher and principal, we created SMART goals for our student’s achievement of learning goals. What if we approached our New Year’s Resolutions with that same sort of planning process?
SMART goals are well developed plans that ensure the goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Here’s how to create your own SMART goal:
Specific- Your goal should be clear and easily understood. Make sure you know why you are setting the goal.
Measureable- You should be able to add a number to your goal so that you can measure your progress.
Attainable- If your goal is too hard or too easy it won’t be motivating. Choose a goal that you can reach. It should challenge, but not overwhelm you.
Relevant- Your goal should be important to you, if it’s something you enjoy, it will likely have more meaning to you.
Time-bound- Your goal should have an end point. Having a deadline can motivate you and keep you on track.
Here are some examples of SMART goals for weight loss, health & fitness, and finances:
I want to get to my optimal weight by losing 20 pounds. I will do this by following the Weight Watchers (or other plan) for one year, weighing myself weekly, so that I will learn to implement lifelong changes in order to improve my overall health.
Health and Fitness:
I will get 10,000 steps in each day before I go to bed, measured by my Fitbit tracker. I will make it a point to move more in order to achieve my goal. This goal will help with my overall health and wellbeing.
I will increase contributions to my retirement account by $500 each month starting in January so that I will be better prepared for retirement.
Each of these goals meet the criteria for SMART goals. The purpose of writing goals as SMART goals is to increase the probability that you will actually execute and accomplish the goal.
Author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish”. And so, as 2018 begins, I resolve to make a plan to accomplish my goals. For me that means to live a life with gratitude and perhaps be a little kinder to myself in my own SMART goals journey, knowing that my time here is precious and limited. What SMART goals will you set this year?
Written By: Susan O'Leary
Kensington Gardens Estate Living Retirement Community
Published on Jan 10, 2018.