By Shannon Morehouse, MA, CHHC
When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, I find that people either create them with the utmost determination or they outright oppose them. For me, I support New Year’s resolutions as an opportunity to embark on positive change. I believe that any intention to improve one’s life is admirable and something I support wholeheartedly, no matter what time during a given year the intention is set. With that said, the New Year, symbolically, is a good time to reflect on what aspects of your life could use some tweaking. I suggest looking initially at one the following areas of your life: HOME, RELATIONSHIPS, JOY, SOCIAL LIFE, HEALTH, CAREER, CREATIVITY, FINANCES, EDUCATION, or SPIRITUALITY. Which one of these areas “speaks to you” as needing your attention?
Once you choose an area, make an intention to devote yourself to that area, to gradually make a positive change. One helpful goal-creating technique is the SMART technique. Create a goal that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based.
I will use a weight-loss goal to illustrate how to create a SMART goal.
To state a Specific goal, focus on what you want to achieve and how you will do it.
Not Specific: I want to lose weight.
Specific: I want to lose weight by exercising and by reducing my snack binges.
To create a Measurable goal, consider how you will know when you reach that goal.
Not Measurable: I want to lose weight.
Measurable: I want to lose 10 pounds.
To make an Attainable goal, make sure your goal is something you can achieve healthfully.
Not attainable: I want to lose 100 pounds by next month.
Attainable: I want to lose 10 pounds in 6 weeks.
To create a Realistic goal, make sure your schedule and important commitments provide time to achieve the goal.
Unrealistic: I want to lose weight be walking eight hours a day and juicing for every meal.
Realistic: I want to lose weight by walking 25 minutes a day and keeping a fruit bowl as my go-to for snacks and not keeping junk food in my house or office.
Time-Based: It is a lot easier to work toward a goal when you specify a time you want to achieve it by.
Taking our weight-loss example, the SMART goal would be something like:
I want to lose 10 pounds by March 31st by walking 25 minutes a day, five days a week, and keeping a fruit bowl as my go-to for snacks and not keeping junk food in my house or office.
Once you achiever your goal, you can either update your goal or simply work on maintaining the results you achieved. How can you make your New Year Resolution SMART? We’d love to hear your comments. Meanwhile, if you want support on achieving your NYR and would like to learn health and lifestyle tips along the way, check out our 90 Days to the Best You program, which starts on January 17, 2015!