It’s been a short while since the beginning of the new year. Major holidays have passed. Kids are back in school. You’re almost getting the hang of writing “2019” instead of “2018.” The year is progressing, but are your New Year’s resolutions? Perhaps you keep promising yourself you’ll get started on Monday. Maybe you didn’t even commit to any resolutions this year because you know you always forget or give up only a few weeks into the new year.
According to Business Insider, 80% of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by February. Even worse, only 8% of people actually accomplish their goals by the end of the year, according to Forbes. Whether your resolution is to spend less money, practice healthier habits, find love, or accomplish something specific, sticking with commitments can often be difficult and discouraging. But it doesn’t have to be.
The start of every new year is about reflection, reassessment, and reorganizing your priorities. It should be a joyful time to determine how to make your life even better. One of the biggest reasons people give up on their resolutions is because they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. Their task is altogether too daunting. The details were never sorted out. There wasn’t a step-by-step plan put in place to ensure the objective was fulfilled.
If you’re serious about accomplishing a goal, consider the SMART method for your blueprint to success.
S – Specific
What do you want to accomplish? Establish an area in which you can make positive changes. Then think of the simple W’s – who, what, where, when, and why. Instead of saying, “I want to lose weight this year,” you may want to commit to a more definitive goal such as losing 5 pounds every 3 months for the next year. After you’ve set a goal, determine what steps you’ll need to take in order to get there.
M – Measurable
How will you tangibly determine if you’ve met your goals? Whether it be in time spent,
pounds lost, or books read, establish a goal that has some sort of measurement. When you can see how much you’ve accomplished and how much further you still have to go, you’re much more likely to keep working at that goal. You can even break up your plan into several steps, celebrating with each stride.
A – Attainable
What usually keeps you from accomplishing your goals? Understand your time
constraints and assess what resources are available to you. Be realistic about your needs and what you’re actually able to do in order to achieve this goal. For example, if you’re eating steak one day and deciding to “go vegan” the next, you’ll likely give up. Instead, take reasonable steps towards making your dream a reality.
R – Relevant
What matters to you? If you hate to read, perhaps reading a book per month is not a
suitable goal for you. However, if you learn best through audio, perhaps listening to an audiobook or educational podcast will help you expand your knowledge in areas of interest. Your resolutions should be applicable to your goals, time constraints, lifestyle, skills, and available resources. Looking at both the big picture and smaller details are crucial to achieving whatever you set out to do.
T – Timely
How much time will this mission take to accomplish? How much time do you have
available to you? Deadlines motivate action. This concept goes hand-in-hand with measurability. Instead of saying, “I want to eat healthier this year,” commit to eating 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily or plan to meal prep every Sunday. Also, be realistic. If your expectations are too stringent, you’ll likely give up completely if you slip up along the way.
New Year’s can be an inspiring catalyst for implementing positive changes in your life. However, you don’t need to wait until January 1st or Monday morning to make your dreams a reality. Whether you want to learn a new skill, feel better inside and out, or experience life more fully, you can start at any time. In fact, you should start now. When you establish small milestones and plan the steps to get there, accomplishing your goal doesn’t seem so impossible. So be positive and keep trying! Life is what you make it.