According to US News and World Report, about 80% of people fail to stick to their New Year’s resolutions for longer than six weeks. Most resolutions involve getting healthy, by way of diet and/or exercise. However, these goals are rarely achieved. Why are they so elusive and what can be done to make these or any other goals more achievable?
One of the reasons people struggle to reach their goals is because they often set goals that are too ambiguous. A general goal to lose weight, doesn’t provide a plan with the actual steps you need to take to get there, and with little to no accountability, this can lead to frustration and feelings of failure. If you wouldn’t start a company without a business plan, then you shouldn’t set a goal without a road map of how to get you there.
This is where using SMART goals as your GPS can help you to be successful. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Specific. Using this formula will help to break bigger, long term goals into smaller, more manageable pieces; which can lead to success.
Begin by thinking about a goal that is important to you. If it is something that is meaningful, this can play a significant factor in whether you stick to your resolutions. Once you have the goal, use the SMART goal formula to devise your plan.
Specific: A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:
*Who: Who is involved?
*What: What do I want to accomplish?
*Where: Identify a location.
*When: Establish a time frame.
*Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
*Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a specific goal would be, “Join Waverley Oaks Athletic Club and workout for thirty minutes a day, 3 days a week.”
Measurable – Establish criteria for measuring progress toward achieving each goal you set. When you can measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the satisfaction of achievement that can motivate you to continue your effort to reach your goal
To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as: How much will you do? How often will you do it? How will I know when it is accomplished?
Achievable – What barriers, if any do you expect to face? How will you overcome these barriers? When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them happen. You develop the attitudes, abilities and skills needed to reach them. Most goals are attainable when you formulate a plan and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out that plan.
Realistic– To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective that you are willing and able to work toward. You decide how high your goal should be, just make sure that each goal you set represents some progress. Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to think if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.
Timely – A goal should be grounded within a particular time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10 pounds, when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” or “this year” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, say “by June 1”, then you’ve set the wheels in motion to begin working on the goal.
The Registered Dietitians at Waverley Oaks can help you create a SMART plan for all your goals in the New Year. We accept all major insurance plans. For more information or to make an appointment contact us at email@example.com