Get SMART with your New Year’s Resolutions

According to research, only 8 percent of those who make New Year’s resolutions actually achieve them. Typically, this is due to people setting goals that are unrealistic, lacking timelines, or simply vague – such as, “lose weight.” If you want to make a resolution in the New Year and actually stick to it, consider setting a “SMART” goal—one that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

For example, let’s say that your goal is to “get fit.” Be SMART with that goal – set a time frame (start with a shorter time so you don’t get frustrated), be specific about what exercise you plan to do, make sure that form of exercise is realistic, attainable, and enjoyable for you (you shouldn’t plan to complete a marathon if you’ve never run), and determine how you will measure your success. For example, a SMART way to “get fit” might be taking three Cross Fit classes per week for 30 days in order to lose five pounds. (Not six classes a week for three months to drop 50 pounds.)

Smiling overweight woman exercising

If you achieve your goal at the end of the time period you’ve set, reward yourself with something worthwhile. Then, keep your original goal going with consecutive SMART goals after you complete each one. Be sure to determine what your reward will be when setting your SMART goal. That way, if you’re a few weeks in and tempted to quit, you can set your sights on that reward and remind yourself how close you are to getting it.