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2018. New Year. New You. New Resolutions.
We all are familiar with the above terms and expectations that seem to come every new year. However, sometimes this pressure to create goals can become so overwhelming that we find ourselves just choosing a random goal that doesn't actually mean anything to us. When we choose goals nonchalantly and don't give them any structure, they tend to be outside of our reach and are often unreasonable. For example, wanting to lose 50 pounds within the next 3 months or saving $5,000 this year. These goals are great but maybe they hold too high of expectations or don't contain any structure, which doesn't give us the best chance to achieve them. We are then left feeling like we have failed because we didn't achieve the goals, but we really didn't set ourselves up for success to begin with.
Goals are an excellent way to strive for change and a better, more fulfilled life, but it is important that we give ourselves the best opportunity to actuallyachieve them.
A great way to establish goals that are feasible and more likely to be accomplished entail a few minor details and are often referred to as SMARTgoals.
S - Specific
What is the purpose of this goal?
Are there any roadblocks in your way?
Why is this goal important to you?
The best way for us to be most successful in setting goals is to be specific about what we are striving for. If we do not have a clear idea of what we are working towards, we are not going to know what steps need to be taken to achieve the goals that we have set.
Non-specific Goal: I want to workout more
Specific Goal: I want to work out 3x a week
M - Measurable
Is your goal something you can measure?
How often will you work towards it?
How will you work towards it?
How will you know when this goal is achieved?
This is the step in which you lay out steps for yourself that can be measured. For example, if you are going to work towards having more happiness in your life, what are ways that you can measure this to to achieve this?
- Journaling things that you are grateful for each day
- Engaging in mindfulness/meditation for 5 minutes each day
- Spending time connecting once a week with those that are important to you
- Resolving things in your life by attending therapy 2x a month.
All of these are things that you can measure to decide whether or not they have been achieved.
Immeasurable Goal: I want to work out more this year. Does 'more' mean you've accomplished your goal when you've worked out one more time than you did last year? Being specific in your goals can make it much easier to measure success.
Measurable Goal: I worked out 1x/2x/3x this week. It is okay if you do not achieve your overall goal immediately. Set short term goals to begin and then move towards your long term goals. So start with 1x, then as that becomes successful, move to 2x, so on and so forth.
A - Achievable
How realistic is this goal?
How attainable is this goal for you to meet?
It is easy to set goals that feel big, because we all want to achieve our best goals, right? Yes, but we have to start somewhere. We cannot go from never working out to participating and finishing a triathalon. As much as we all wish this was possible, we have to be realistic with our expectations.
It is normal for a goal to challenge you, but is it within your grasp to accomplish, or are there too many roadblocks that could keep you from accomplishing it?
Unachievable goal: Working towards a triathalon when you can't even run a mile yet.
Achievable goal: Start training to be able to run a block, then two blocks, then 3 blocks, then a mile.
R - Relevant
Is this the right time for you to meet this goal?
Is this a goal that means a lot to you?
Why did you choose this goal?
What are you hoping it will achieve in your life?
It is important that you feel connected and motivated towards your goals. If these goals mean nothing to you, they are going to be much more difficult to work towards and achieve.
Irrelevant Goal: I want to better take care of myself by sitting in silence for 30 minutes, but in actuality you HATE silence. 30 minutes is going to feel like along time doing something you HATE.
Relevant Goal: I want to have better self-care by taking 30 minutes to relax each day after dinner. Choose an activity that is actually relaxing and is truly enjoyable for you. Otherwise you will have no desire to do it and it will fall through the cracks of your busy schedule.
T - Time Bound
When is your finish date for this goal?
What can you do daily/weekly/monthly to work towards the goal?
Set goals that are time bound so you know what needs to be accomplished both short term and long term. If you have a schedule for yourself, you are bound to be more successful.
Not Time Bound Goal: Sometime this year I will run a mile
Time Bound Goal: I will start working towards a mile on Tuesday by running a block, then every Tuesday going forward I will continue running an extra block until I reach a mile.
Are you set up for success with the goals that you established a few weeks ago at the New Year?