Are your New Year’s Resolutions S.M.A.R.T.?

How many times have each one of us affirmed ourselves between glasses of champagne and belting out muddled verses of Auld Lang Syne ?  THIS Year is going to be different!  This year is going to be the year that we make the changes we want and actually accomplish our New Year’s Resolutions.  Through no fault of our own, we do our best but by Valentine’s Day we’ve long since forgotten the promises we made during that fateful midnight ritual.  Heck, I barely made it to MLK Day last year.

That’s what I love about this time of year. No matter how good or bad the previous year has been, we are overflowing with the hope of an even better year ahead.  Experts say that well over half of all New Year’s Resolutions will have something to do in the realm of getting healthier; and if that wasn’t ominous enough, well over half of all the New Year’s Resolutions made this year will go unfulfilled.

So is there any hope for us at all?  Well maybe, if we take the time to craft some better goals for ourselves.  Try using a technique the business world has been successfully using for the better part of the last decade.  Instead of making another New Year’s Resolution, try making a S.M.A.R.T. plan.

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All of our goals should be specific.  “I want to lose weight!”  That’s terrific…but how much?  “I want to lose 10-lbs…” See? You’re getting better already!

My SPECIFIC goal is:

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It may be kind of silly, but… how will you know when you’ve accomplished your goals?  “I want to get into shape!”  Great! What shape would you like instead? An apple, pear, or banana perhaps?  “I want to be able to jog a mile in under 10-minutes…”  Now that’s something you can measure.

How will my goal be measured?

How will I know when my goal is accomplished?

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This is probably the hardest of all the steps to figure out.  A great goal needs to be something that you can accomplish, but at the same time there needs to be a bit of a challenge too.  If it’s something you can easily take care of, there’s no sense of accomplishment once it’s complete, but make it too challenging and you are likely to get frustrated and give up, or fail altogether.  Your resolutions should be a “comfortable stretch” from your day to day life.

Is my goal a challenge but still possible to achieve?

List the actions I will need to accomplish to achieve my goal:

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Realistic (Relevant)….

This is the “reality check moment” of your goal-setting.  While you might be motivated to lose 100-lbs, maybe trying to accomplish it by Memorial Day is a little too ambitious.  Similarly, if you are chauffeuring your family around town 5-nights a week to afterschool activities and commitments, maybe now isn’t the time to sign up for a membership to that fancy new GYM on the other side of town.  If your goals aren’t realistic, you aren’t likely to stick with it for long…

Is my goal realistic with the resources I have?

Am I willing to commit to my goal?

Why do I want to accomplish this goal?

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Time Bound…

Setting up a timeline helps to keep a sense of urgency and motivation to all of our goals.  Think about that Wedding that you were invited to.  It’s a great example of urgency and motivation, especially if you wanted to fit into that dress/suit special for the occasion.  Give yourself a target date, and hold yourself to it.  You may just find that you have everything you need to be successful!

Is my goal trackable?

When will my goal be reached?

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Here are some examples of S.M.A.R.T. goals to get your juices flowing…

Bad Example:  “I want to go to the GYM more…”

Good Example:  “I want to go to the GYM at least 3-times a week.  I will need to give up my morning latte to have enough money to pay for my monthly membership.  I will find at least 2-different classes that interest me, and that are scheduled before my job.  I will have to get a new GYM bag so I can take my workout clothes to work.  By the end of January I should have my new membership…”

Bad Example:  “I want to lower my cholesterol…”

Good Example:  “I want to lower my total cholesterol at least 15-points.  I may need to schedule an appointment with a Registered Dietitian to learn which actions affect my lipid levels.  I can focus on my diet and activity level, and my current medications for the next 3-months.  I should set a reminder to call my doctor in March and have new labs ordered…”

About ChefAdamRD

Chef by day, Dietitian by night. Weekends are spent in my sleepy water town just south of Seattle, enjoying rainy days with my lovely wife, Ray; and our two dogs. I've been cooking for as long as I can remember; it's taken me all over the World and I'm so excited to be collaborating on this Blog with my Mother. I hope you all find something you weren't even looking for. Keep checking back for new content!
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