This post has been updated: How to Keep Your Resolutions with SMART Goals + it even has a FREE printable!
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 every day, 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?