Be SMART – SMART Goals System Explained

Study smarter not harder - SMART goals system tips

Every year I’ve made New Year’s Resolutions and every year, until this past one, I had failed. I didn’t get it. I would always start so strong but then at the end of the year I’d realize I was not healthier, I was not exercising everyday, and I was not suddenly a lot richer, or more fulfilled.

That all changed after I read the book Study Smarter, Not Harder by Kevin Paul. In this book, he described the SMART goals system and it without a doubt changed the way I thought about goals and New Year’s Resolutions.

The gist of what I learned was that I was not thinking about goals the right way.

They needed to be SMART…


Here is an example: Often I hear people say around this time of year “I want to exercise more.” Well, what is more? If you exercised twice last year and then exercised three times this year, you technically met your goal. But is that a success? Is that what you meant? I doubt it.

You should say: “I want to exercise at least three times a week by the end of the year. I’ll start out slow with once a week and then work up to three times a week.”

You have a specific increment that you are aiming for, you can measure your progress, three times a week isn’t too difficult if you build up to it, it isn’t too over the top, and you have a clear ending.

Now if you said “I want to exercise everyday,” sure that is specific and measurable… but not many people have time for that. It isn’t attainable or realistic.

I hope this could help you reach your goals for next year. I’ve already finished up writing my New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 (I’ll share a few of them in January) and I’m happy to say I completed 7 of my 8 resolutions from last year!

A suggestion: I like to take things in steps. I make to-do lists for each day and bigger goals for each month. I kept my resolutions in mind by reading them every morning while I set my to-do list for the day and my goals for the month. Each monthly goal I would look at as a step to my bigger resolution. If you are constantly working towards that goal, motivating yourself by accomplishing these small steps, you are more likely to reach your resolutions!

Have you started your resolutions for next year?


Our Christmas Tree


This Sunday is Christmas! Spending time with my family is so important to me and nothing brings us together more then the holiday season. I also love walking around in PJs most of the weekend (with my new fuzzy socks and slippers my Mom gives me every year, love them!).

In case you missed it on my daily vlogging YouTube channel, here is our Christmas tree! It took us (me, Chris, and Lina) four hours to finish and I sped it up to under  five minutes!

Very blurry screen cap of cuteness!

What is your favorite part of the holidays? (Feel free to post even if you don’t celebrate Christmas.)


Last Minute (Special) Gift Cards

A selection of gift cards in a store in New York on Wednesday, November 2, 2011. (© Richard B. Levine)

Well, Christmas is this Sunday. If you don’t have presents yet…. what are you doing?! If you don’t celebrate Christmas still read this post and save it for other gifting occasions! 

Here are some special/not so ordinary last minute gift cards that you can get for your friends or family last minute. Some of them are e-gifts while others you will have to receive in the mail. If they don’t get there by Christmas, just make a card or forward your order confirmation to show them you got it for them.

Fun and special gift cards….

For beauty-lovers

  1. Birchbox: Gift 3-12 months of deluxe beauty samples right at your door! My fiance bought me a year of Birchbox for Christmas so now I get to open up a small gift every month! Who doesn’t want presents every month?
  2. MyGlam: The idea is similar to Birchbox but instead of samples being based around a theme, you get a look in a makeup bag! Each month the bag and the look is different. This is a new service (just launched this month) but my first bag was very impressive.

For parents (I personally would love this but I bought it for my parents and Chris’ parents)

  1. Harry and David Fruit of the Month: I only found out about Harry and David a few months ago and fell in love with the idea. Every month you are sent high quality yummy fruits! What a fun idea! They have options for large and small homes.
  2. Restaurants: Get your parents out of the house! Some (not all) parents tend to give up on their social lives after having kids. Pick someplace expensive that they normally wouldn’t splurge on themselves. A lot of options are available on the perspective restaurants web sites but if not go straight to the restaurant to pick up a physical gift card. You still have time!

*Be careful when getting normal store gift cards for parents. I can’t trust my Mom with them! Instead of treating herself she buys presents for me…. It is the sweetest thing but she clearly didn’t get the point of my present!


  1. Groupon: The receiver can buy a vacation, cupcakes at a local bakery, yoga classes, etc! There is so much to choose from daily. You can choose the amount on the card.
  2. Restaurants: Rather then more expensive restaurants, pick some off the beaten path (like themed restaurants or based on foreign country tastes). Check places out on Yelp! If they are local you are going to have to go to their physical location to get a gift voucher.

Stressed friends, family, new parents, etc.:

  1. Massage Envy: A massage gift card is such a treat. If they have youngsters, offer to babysit while they spend their gift card! They also have monthly massage club memberships!

Can you tell I love subscription services?

Share your last minute gift subscriptions in the comments!