Have you ever created a New Year’s resolution only to abandon it a few weeks later? Maybe you tried to honor your resolution to follow a healthy eating plan or to exercise more often, but life got busy, your resolve waned, and convenience won out in the end.
A key to making your goals stick is to plan. If you don’t make a plan, you may abandon your goals depending on how you feel on that particular day. And chances are, if you don’t feel like having another salad for lunch or going to the gym, you won’t follow through. Benjamin Franklin was on the right track when he said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
Turning your New Year’s resolution into a S.M.A.R.T. goal is an easy to way to start creating a plan. S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely goals.
Let’s say your New Year’s resolution is to eat healthier. Here’s how you might make that into a S.M.A.R.T. goal:
Is “eating healthier” specific? No. What does eating healthier look like? The first step would be to break the goal down. Some questions you can ask to help narrow your goal are: what do I want to accomplish? When will this happen? Why am I doing this? Who is involved? Are there any requirements or restrictions?
Instead of just “eating healthier,” a specific goal could be “make 5 dinners a week with Healthy Food Now recipes” or “eat a salad everyday for lunch.”
How will you know when you’ve reached your goal? Making your goal measurable will help you track your progress and stay goal-oriented. If you can see your success, you’ll be more likely to keep going.
It’s important to make sure your goal is something you can actually attain, otherwise it can be easy to get discouraged. Even if you have a big goal, like following a nutritarian diet, it can be achieved if you break it down into manageable pieces and make a plan.
Is this something you actually want to do? Does it fit with your current priorities? If it’s something you are doing because you think you should be doing it, chances are you won’t stick with it. It’s okay to aim high with your goals, especially if it’s something you are passionate about!
Putting a time-frame on your goal can help create a sense of urgency. Going back to our healthy eating example, at what point do you want to be making 5 Healthy Food Now dinners a week? By next week? Next month? By April? Grounding your goal in a time-frame helps set your actions into motion.
When you are making your New Year’s resolutions this year, think about how you could turn them into S.M.A.R.T. goals that you are more likely to achieve. Whether you want to lose weight, create a healthy eating plan, or run a marathon, have a healthy new year!