New Year Goals: A SMART Plan

  • 8 years ago
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Set SMART goals for 2017

I’m a big fan of the end of the year and the coming of the new year. It is a time to reflect on the year that just ended and set new goals for a fresh start with the new calendar year. After all, who doesn’t like a fresh start? While there aren’t any rules to goal setting, it’s important to remember several concepts to avoid frustration while on the path to reaching your target. To keep it simple, remember the mnemonic SMART.

  1. S – Make SPECIFIC goals.  While the unaimed arrow never misses, you need to have a target if you are seeking a specific result.  I am going to run 3 times each week.
  2. M – Make sure your goals are MEASURABLE.  If your goal is to be a better person, set goals that you can measure, such as “Volunteer at the soup kitchen 1 time each month.”
  3. A – Set ACHIEVABLE goals. Create smaller goals en route to reaching a larger goal, or write down a collection of to-do’s that have been accumulating on your list that will lead to reaching your larger goal.
  4. R – Be REALISTIC when setting goals based on your skills, talents, and the amount of time you will need to reach your desired outcome.  If you have never played the guitar, but this is the year you are going to learn, start with learning to play a basic tune, instead of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven.
  5. T – set a TIME deadline to reach your goals.  As the saying goes, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”  Pick a timeline that you can handle.  Small victories will lead to bigger ones, so break your big goals into several smaller steps, with shorter timelines.

Remember, stay positive; setting goals is something that should build you up, not bring you down. If you are struggling to reach your goal, you can always take a moment to reevaluate your goal and break it down into smaller pieces.  When you write something down, you’re at least twice as likely to remember what you have written. And while you have the pen and paper out, write down steps with deadlines that will be required to achieving your goal. Lastly, review your goals. Did you make them SMART? Are you giving yourself a fair time frame and reachable target? Good luck, happy new year and happy goal setting!

Bonus: I’d like to recommend the book “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.  The book gets into the details of what makes a habit stick and how to create changes in your life by adopting new behavioral patterns.

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