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New Year's Resolutions, or New Year's Goals?

Written by Kelly Murray

Every January, people are proud to announce their New Year’s resolutions. To lose weight, get in shape, spend less and save more money. The list goes on and on. But what happens come March? Or maybe even February for some? We forget about those resolutions that we made even though they were, or are still important to us. By definition, a resolution is “a firm decision to do or not to do something”. Maybe that’s why so many New Year’s resolutions never get accomplished. A resolution is merely a decision, or an agreement to do or be better.

A goal on the other hand, is defined as “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.” I don’t know about you, but right there in that definition are two words right there that really jump out at me. Effort. Desire. If you really want to make changes and improvements for the new year ahead, set some goals! Don’t just make a decision that you want to be better or do better. You need to have the desire and put in the effort to make those changes and achieve the results.

Okay, you thought it over and you decided that you’re ready. You really want to make some changes. Now it’s time to set some goals. But if you’re going to do this right, they need to be SMART goals.

Specific When creating your goals, make sure you are detailed. Just saying, “I’m going to work out more” is not good enough. When are you going to exercise? For how long? How many times a week? What days of the week? Doing what? Where at? Be specific. Make a specific plan and write it down. Measurable “I will eat healthier” also will set you up to fail. How will you know that you ate healthier? What exactly is healthier? Instead, set a goal of “I will eat 3 servings of fruits and vegetables a day” or “I will exercise 3 days a week for 30 minutes”. That is measurable. With a measurable goal, you will be able to count it and you can track your progress. Attainable “I’m going to lose 30 pounds by next month” or “I’m going to exercise every day”. Are those really achievable or healthy? If your goal seems a little too lofty, try breaking it down into smaller goals, so that you can ultimately reach you end goal. Try rating your confidence on a scale of 1-10. If you give yourself less than a 7, restructure your goal so it’s a 7 or higher. Relevant As the New Year rolls around, we realize all at once all of the goals we want to accomplish. “I’m going to vacuum more often” is a great goal, but get your priorities straight and don’t pile on more than you can handle. Is vacuuming relevant to your most important goal? Timely

Set a deadline to your goals to keep you on track. Having one huge goal for the entire year is a lot to grasp. Setting deadlines throughout your goal will help you maintain your progress, and allow for re-evaluation if needed. By setting mini deadlines and goals, you will be able to keep up with your goal, and not wait until the last minute to try and squeeze everything in.

Another tool to help you with your SMART goals is the goal pyramid below. Looking at your goals in a pyramid shape will help you break down, and really get detailed and specific with your goals.

Putting in the time and effort to create and personalize your SMART goals will get you started off on the right path. By following these guidelines, you will be able to track your progress, meet, and maybe even exceed your goals to becoming an improved version of yourself for the New Year.

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