For most people, New Year’s resolutions are good intentions, but unfortunately they don’t always produce lasting results. This year, instead of setting a large overwhelming or unrealistic goal, start the year off right by making small achievable goals throughout the year.
Nationwide, nearly half of Americans say they usually make a New Year’s resolution. But according to a survey done by the University of Scranton, only 64 percent of people actually kept their resolutions after the first month of the year, and only 8 percent were successful in achieving their resolution.
Don’t be part of that statistic. Kick start your new year by using the SMART criteria to help set — and keep — this year’s resolutions. SMART is an acronym designed to help with better goal setting.
Use these simple tips to help create resolutions you can achieve.
S — Be specific. Start small and think through the details. Include specifics for who, what, where, when and why. Don’t just say, “I want to be healthier.” Set specific goals like losing weight or quitting tobacco.
M — Make it measurable. For example, say, “I want to lose 20 pounds.” Estimate how long it will take to meet your goal, measure your progress, set target dates and celebrate small milestones. Talk with family and friends, sharing both your struggles and your successes.
A — Acknowledge your goal is achievable. Plan wisely, set an achievable target and time frame and keep a positive attitude.
R — Be realistic. It’s certainly acceptable to set high goals, but make sure they’re realistic. Do you have the time, resources and understanding of how to reach your goal? Does it fit within your schedule?
T — Make your goal timely and trackable. Don’t set yourself up for failure with a “This year I’ll work out at the gym” goal. A vague “some day” doesn’t work. Plan ahead, pick a start date, decide on a specific location to work out, ask a friend to join you and keep each other accountable.
An example of a SMART goal might look like this.
I want to lose 10 pounds by April 1. I’ll do this by limiting my calorie intake to 1,800 calories a day, and I’ll plan my meals each day and track what I eat on my smart phone app. To help burn calories, I’ll walk 30 minutes a day with my co-workers on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Sources: cdc.gov, projectsmart.co.uk, statisticbrain.com