As you look towards the new year, setting goals and making plans for 2018, make sure to spend just as much time planning exactly how you’ll make those goals happen.
Thinking in terms of “SMART” goals is a good way to start. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. That’s all well and good, but if you’re like me, I want concrete examples — so I’m sharing several.
Let’s look at four of the most popular new year’s resolutions:
1- Exercise more.
Ok, that’s a good one, but as is, it’s not going to be easy to follow through on. A better goal would be to plan workouts around your current schedule, and set a goal realistic enough that you’d be willing to say you’re at least 80% sure you can do it. So instead of “exercise more,” you might set this as a goal instead:
I’ll workout 3 times each week, attending a class at the gym on the way home from work on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays.
I’ll go for a 30-minute run 4 mornings each week after the kids get on the school bus.
Once you’ve achieved the specific, realistic goal you’ve set, then you can re-evaluate to decide if you want to modify it. If you’re not working out at all right now, then making a goal of working out 5 times per week simply isn’t realistic — but it might be six months from now.
2- Lose weight.
Honestly, this one isn’t great. Yes, you can measure weight loss but there are so many other factors playing into weight loss/gain. Try setting a habit-based goal instead of this results-oriented one. For instance, you might choose to cut out your nighttime bowl of ice cream, or switch to drinking water instead of soda, or aim to spend part of your lunch break walking each day. Those are measurable, and attainable — and will help get you healthier. Keep in mind that realistically attainable goals are awesome because the more successful you feel, the more likely you’ll continue on with the good habits you’re creating.
3- Live life to the fullest.
Again, this is a fabulous goal — but how would you know whether or not you’d attained this one? Instead, consider what “live life to the fullest” means to you. Does this mean you’ll spend more time with family? Spend more time hiking? Find a job you love? Break it down, get specific, and THEN set a goal you can realistically work towards. So in these examples, that might be: sit down for a family dinner at least two days each week; go hiking at least 3 weekends per month; revamp your resume and hire a head hunter.
4- Learn a new hobby.
Great — but what hobby? Do you have one in mind? If not, perhaps your goal could be to try something new each month until you find one that strikes your fancy. Perhaps look for local community classes you could attend. If you do already have a new hobby in mind, consider what it would take to learn. Want to learn camera skills? Join local photo walks. Always wanted to play guitar? Sign up for lessons!