It’s that time of year again! The New Year is right around the corner, and like countless other Americans, you may have begun to think about your New Year’s resolutions. Think back to last year for a second: Did you have any resolutions? Did you accomplish what you set out to do? If you answers to these questions are “Yes, I did” and “No, I didn’t”, respectively, you are not alone. Some data suggests that about 92% of people will fail to reach their New Year’s resolution goals, and 80% will abandon their resolutions by February!
Are New Year’s resolutions a recipe for failure? Maybe, but they don’t have to be!
Setting a goal and then following through on that goal can be difficult, especially when that goal switches up your routine and forces you to change your eating habits, the amount of exercise you do,, or the amount of free time you have at the end of the day to learn a new skill or do something you enjoy. The key to managing and hitting the marks you set for yourself is about being SMART…let me elaborate and show you how you can join the coveted 8%.
The SMART system is a goal-writing system that is proven to improve the odds that you will achieve them. SMART is an acronym that stands for:
Using this formula to write goals will make the goal seem more attainable and relevant to you, giving you a much better chance to be the 8%.
EXAMPLE: I want to lose weight this year and get my dream body.
This is a super common goal set forth in New Year’s resolutions, but as you can already see, it does not follow SMART criteria. Let’s break it down.
For this facet, ask the 5 Ws: What do I want to achieve? Why do I want to achieve it? Who is involved? Where is it located? Which limits may stand in my way?
NEW GOAL: I want to achieve my “dream body” which means feeling confident in a bathing suit this summer.
Ask yourself: How much? How many? When will I know when it is accomplished?
NEW GOAL: I want to lose X number of pounds per week, and my overall goal will be accomplished when I hit X number of pounds on the scale.
Ask yourself: How can I accomplish this? Is it achievable?
NEW GOAL: I can accomplish this goal by dedicating 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week, to an exercise routine, and by prepping healthy meals on Sundays to aid in my weight loss.
Ask yourself: Is it worthwhile? Why does this matter to me?
NEW GOAL: It is worthwhile for me to invest in my health so I can live longer and feel confident in myself. I will also be proud of myself if I accomplish my goal and can relax at the beach without worrying what I look like due to higher self-esteem.
Ask yourself: When? What can I do today? Where will I be six months from now? (This could be a good time to divide your large goal into smaller sub-goals if the large one seems too daunting or unattainable right now!)
NEW GOAL: Today, I can join a gym or do research on a home exercise program I will enjoy. I will start my routine on Monday, exercising 5 times a week for at least 45 minutes each time and meal prepping on Sundays so I have healthy food options. I want to lose X amount of pounds per week and weigh X pounds by March 1st, and then I will set a new goal for the next few months.
As you can see, using the SMART technique can help you break down your goal into something that seems more achievable and relevant to you. No matter if you want to lose weight, learn new skills, work on relationships, or improve yourself in general, having a concrete set of tasks will help you to achieve your goals and become one of the small majority of people that can actually say they accomplished what they set out to do in the new year!
As always, if you have any questions for our team of trained professionals about resolutions (or maybe anxiety you may be feeling because of the changes ahead), we are here to help! Feel free to reach out via phone (908) 914-2624 or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will get back to you right away.
All the best,
The Center for Anxiety and Behavior Management Team