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Did you know that only nine percent of new year’s resolutions made are kept? You are reading that right! Ninety three percent of all new year’s resolutions fail. That is a staggering rate! I don’t know about you, but that statistic makes me rethink “new year’s resolutions”. What if there was another option to set a goal and be successful?  If you plan to work on some personal goals, but need help beating the statistic, you are not alone and we are here to help. Do you need help planning personal smart goals that you can actually accomplish? One way to make goals that can be more successful is to use SMART goal planning.

A SMART goal can help you define, measure and accomplish a personal goal for this year. This month, we will talk about

  • what a smart goal is
  • how to develop your own smart goals
  • tips on measuring your progress
  • celebrating your success

Are you ready to learn about SMART goals?

What is a SMART goal anyway?
  • S in smart goal states that the goal should be Specific. For example, this should answer the “W” questions. This step will answer the who, what, where, when and why of you goal.
  • M in a smart goal defines that the goal should be Measurable. The measure in a goal should define how much, or how many the goal will cover.
  • A in the acronym says the goal should be Attainable. Evaluating past goals can be helpful in determining how to set a goal that is realistic with your current time and resources you have available.
  • R in the word smart reveals if the goal is Realistic. At this point in the process, you can determine if the goal is realistic.
  • T in the word SMART stands for Timely. Setting a timeline for your goals is a great way to stay accountable in making progress which will help you to be successful in accomplishing your goal.

Since what a SMART goal is has been briefly discussed, it is time to think about your SMART goal. Are you ready to put to paper your goal, but need help with step one? What goal(s) would you like to accomplish this year? If you have multiple goals for this year, go ahead and prioritize those by importance to you. Once you have your top priority goal, write that goal out. If planning for a year out is stressful for you, try planning a goal with a one-month time period. Are you ready to learn more details to help you understand a smart goal?

How do I plan my smart goal?

Be Specific. For example, if you desire to strengthen one of your relationships, your smart goal could simply read “Improve my relationship with a person.”. Is a new creative pass time your goal for this year. Your goal could read “Learn to knit or fly fish.”. In these two examples, the goal is specific. You would not want to write “Start a new hobby.” as that is vague and there are many hobby options. Once you have defined your goal, move on to determining how to measure it.

Be Measurable. Above we learned that the measure would answer the how much or how many about your goal. One good way to share this step is to breakdown the goals by determining steps/tasks that need to be created to accomplish a bigger goal.

Be Attainable. Setting too high of a goal can make attaining the goal unrealistic. An example of this could be “Get healthy. Stay healthy.”. If your lifestyle needs attention in the types of food you eat, your activity and exercise level and schedule, you could easily be overwhelmed to try and change all these things at once. To help the goal be attainable, you could break it down into parts and have one piece of goal as your focus. An example could be “Cook 3 healthy meals a week.”. Once you have that goal accomplished you can add another part of the goal all while continuing the first goal.

Be Realistic. Setting a goal that you are able to accomplish is important for success. Think of this step as first step to take in a larger picture. If you set a goal to speak to a family member daily, you could feel as though you failed as soon as your schedule gets a bit busy and you miss a day. Remember, aim to set goals that are smart, goals you can step by step keep.

Be Timely. Establishing a habit takes time. Most of us cannot form a new habit in a week. On average a new habit takes 21-90 days to implement into your life. Some can learn a new habit in 21 days, but it will take longer, 90 days or more, for it to become part of our lifestyle. With this in mind, a timely goal could be “Make a phone call once a week.”. Put the time on your schedule for a given day. Be easy on yourself if the call takes place a day late. Remembering, you are still within your goal.

As you consider your goals for this year, reflect back on this past year. Were there reoccurring issues that could improve with steps from you? Jot those ideas down. Prioritize the need for each goal. Write out a smart goal plan.

Planning goals is necessary to implement change. If you find you have tried some steps for setting life goals, but need some help overcoming the inability to, you are not alone. Upstate Restorative Counseling is here and can help you take steps to balance your life.

When you are ready, our team is here to support you.

Would you like to read more on this topic? Check out this blog post for ideas to help with embracing habits.