Are you making SMART New Year’s Resolutions?

Posted on January 9, 2012 by

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Although we’re already more than a week into 2012, today is the day that many of us will officially start our New Year’s resolutions (why start before everyone’s fully back to work, right?)

Each year, many of us resolve to make the most out of life by changing one (or more) things about ourselves, whether it’s stopping a bad habit, or getting into new and exciting ones. And we certainly don’t seem to do things by halves either, setting popular resolutions such as:

  • Losing weight
  • Quitting smoking
  • Eating healthier/exercising more
  • Learning something new
  • Spending more time with your family/friends
  • Getting out of debt/saving more money
  • Drinking less
  • Travelling to new places
  • Being less stressed
  • Volunteering

And we all start out so confident and determined, sure of the fact that 2012 will be our year and that things will change for the better…yet a few weeks down the line and many of us are already falling by the wayside.

What is it about New Year’s resolutions that make them so hard to keep or achieve?!

Well, why don’t we look at things from a business perspective…compared to the business targets or objectives we see at work, our own personal goals begin to look more than a little bit vague…not very SMART you might say!

Many will know that SMART is a well used acronym for setting effective goals and objectives. It stands for:

Specific – It should say exactly what needs to be achieved and, where appropriate, how it should be achieved.

Measurable – You should set out how you plan to measure your success so you can easily check progress and know when your goal has been completed.

Agreed – Are other people affected by your goal? If so, do they agree to it too?

Realistic – Are you setting yourself a target that is simply impossible, or unachievable within your other constraints?

Time-based – When are you going to achieve this by? (by the way, ‘ASAP’ doesn’t count!!)

Lets take a look at a one of the most popular resolutions:

“Loose weight”  Not very clear is it?

  • How much do you want to loose?
  • How are you going to do it?
  • Do the rest of your family agree to the padlock on the biscuit tin?
  • Remembering that losing 20lbs in 2 weeks might be a little unrealistic!

How about: “Lose 20lbs over the next 10 weeks, (or roughly 2lbs per week – a healthy amount), by exercising more and eating healthier, and maintaining the new weight once the target has been reached.”

Although this isn’t going to make cutting out the rubbish and forcing yourself to the gym any easier, it will make it more manageable to keep track of your goal, and may make it seem less daunting.

It has been found that people who break down their resolutions down into smaller, more achievable targets are more likely to keep on track and succeed in their goal! And SMART can help you do just that!

And if you do slip up, instead of giving up completely, just re-assess your SMART objective – maybe you just need to change one part to make it more attainable.

Good luck!