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Setting Up SMART Goals for a Successful Year

To be successful, we need goals, or rather, SMART goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. If you have a resolution or goal you want to accomplish, it's time to take out a pen and paper and write it down.

Specific: Instead of saying "I want to get fit", a specific goal would be something like "I will do 30 minutes of walking on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays". Being less vague will help you pinpoint what activities you can perform, with whom, and at what time or on what days, to be successful in accomplishing your goal.

Measurable: It's important to have a starting point and a way to measure the results. For example: "I will start walking around the block every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. In 1 week, if I have comfortably walked around the block on those days, I will walk around 2 blocks on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I will continue to add blocks until I have walked for at least 30 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays." At the end of each deadline, you will have a better outlook on your results and decide if you need to make adjustments to your goal.

Attainable: It's important to choose a goal that is attainable for your unique needs and desires. It can be easy to open up magazines, watch television, or hear from a friend about the latest health trend that is or isn't working for someone else and want to jump in. The example used above may be attainable or easy for some and may be only a starting point for others. You should consider your attitude and motivation about certain activities. Some may enjoy walking while others enjoy running. Some may enjoy swimming while others prefer to lift weights or go to an aerobics class. If you don't enjoy the activity, your chances of success could be much lower. The same can be said about your limitations; if you have a health condition that prevents certain activities, it is important to seek out those you enjoy and can perform without risk of hurting yourself.

Realistic: Goals need to be realistic or you are setting yourself up for failure. Instead of aiming for a radical change, you can plan small, attainable goals with reasonable deadlines that will allow you to reward your progress and motivate you to keep going. For example, if you've only ever enjoyed walking/jogging a few miles a day, it wouldn't be wise to sign up for a marathon within a month. Instead, a more realistic goal for someone who walks/jogs for fun, but who is considering a marathon at some point, is to start off with smaller goals of running 1 mile, then 3, then 5 over the course of months until, eventually, their goal of running a marathon can be achieved safely.

Timely: Your resolutions and goals need to have a timeline. Both the short-term and the long-term goals should have deadlines to measure your progress against. Without a sense of deadline, one can lose their motivation to get fit in a reasonable time frame, and instead become content with just getting fit "someday".

Only you can decide your goals and how SMART they will be for you. To get started, answer the following questions to better help you achieve your goals in 2020!

  • Specific: What do you want to achieve? Where? When? How? Why?
  • Measurable: How much? How often?
  • Attainable: Are you properly motivated to reach for this goal and stick with it? How important is this goal to you?
  • Realistic: Is your goal, and the time frame you set to complete it, realistic to your capabilities?
  • Timely: In what time frame do you plan to complete your goal? Will you meet your goal incrementally?
Last Updated Thursday, February 20, 2020 - 05:42 PM.