It’s that time of the year when everyone is reflecting back and starting to think of their New Year resolutions. If this is you, have you been wondering how you can be SMART when making your resolutions?

Despite the fact that more New Year resolutions are broken each year than any other goal, we still look forward to opening that brand new calendar and imagining the possibilities that lie ahead for the New Year.

If you plan on making better New Year resolutions, you may as well ensure that you make SMART choices, right?

I’ve talked about SMART goal setting in previous articles. If this is the first time you’re encountering the term, SMART is an acronym for several different stages of the goal-setting process.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific.
  • Measurable.
  • Achievable.
  • Realistic.
  • Time-bound.

Using this process will help you move from making New Year resolutions that you abandon before the end of the first week of January, to developing achievable resolutions.

A brief intro to SMART Goal Setting

1. Specific

The first step to creating a SMART New Year’s resolution is to be Specific. For example, you can’t just say “I want to lose weight this year” because that is a very general statement with no real meaning. “I will lose 10kg by December 2021.” is more specific.

TIP: Write down your Specific goal and post it where you will be reminded every day.

2. Measurable

The next step is to make sure that the goal is Measurable. When you set a goal, it’s important that you’re able to measure the level of achievement. By measuring, you can keep track of your progress and feel more motivated to move toward your final goal.

TIP: Make a chart or keep a journal to track your successes and achievements. Seeing a visual guide will help motivate you, especially during tough days.

3. Achievable

Set goals that are Achievable. These are goals you know you can attain but with a bit of a stretch.

For example, say you set a goal of losing 50kg in one year. This is not achievable within that period unless you take drastic measures. The end result of not achieving it is that you’ll soon lose confidence. However, aiming to shed off 24kg in one year is an achievable goal.

TIP: If you have a very large goal, such as getting out of debt or losing a large amount of weight, break that large goal into much smaller goals or steps. Achieving a small goal every week will keep you determined to work harder and smarter.

4. Realistic

The next aspect of making SMART New Year resolutions is that your goals must also be Realistic. For example, setting a goal to win a lottery is not particularly realistic. It’s possible, but not probable. Also, it’s not something you have any control over.

If you’re looking at having more money, then it would be more realistic to set a goal to start a new business in the new year than to win a lottery.

TIP: For maximum success and continued motivation, choose goals that are something you can realistically expect to accomplish, even if you need to divide the final goal into smaller attainable steps.

5. Time-bound

The last aspect of the SMART system is to make it Time-bound. When setting resolutions, you’re much more likely to succeed if there’s a time frame associated with each of the resolutions.

You may give yourself a month, six months, or the whole year – the choice is yours. The most important thing is that you take the time to set an end date. Also, make sure that the time allocated is realistic considering the goal you want to achieve.

TIP: Once you set a final deadline, work backwards and determine the deadlines of your smaller goals. Pacing yourself throughout the year is more beneficial and less stressful than saving all the work for the last month before your final deadline.

Over to you…

Making New Year resolutions is very easy. However, resolutions made without a clear plan are prone to failure. It takes a little work to ensure that the resolutions you set are SMART, but the effort is worth it.

Setting SMART goals and breaking them down in a step-by-step plan that you act on will ensure your success. And that makes all the difference if you want to have a more successful year!

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