Making Resolutions and Achieving Goals
“Starting in 2015 I will walk ten miles a day. I will stop eating sugar and drinking pop. I will do P90X twice a day until my abs look like I’m in the UFC. I’ll do pull ups until my arms fall off, lose 50 pounds a month, and take up hard core yoga.”
Do any of those sound remotely familiar? God knows I’ve made a lot of failed resolutions throughout the years. 2014 was a good year for resolutions — I can’t even find my list, so I’m just going to assume I wrote “exercise for two months out of the year and gain a few pounds from egg nog and rum.” If that was indeed the plan… then success!
I’m a firm believer in setting goals. Goals are just barriers you set for yourself to smash. I’ve always said to be successful, your goals need to be measurable and you need to review them regularly. Writing up a list of things you want to achieve next year won’t do you any good if you can’t even find the list by March.
My wife recently explained the SMART system to me, which she picked up at a work meeting. After doing some reading online I discovered the SMARTER system, which I like even more. SMARTER stands for:
Making New Year’s Resolutions like “I’m going to walk more” or “I’m going to eat healthy” are just setting yourself up for failure. It’s not that the ideas behind them are bad; it’s that the way they are written doesn’t make them easy to achieve.
Take “I’m going to walk more,” for example. A better resolution would be, “I’m going to walk 30 minutes a day, three days a week.” Now, that’s a goal! Let’s take a look at that goal through the SMARTER system. It’s specific (30 minutes a day, 3 times a week). That’s also measurable. For me, it’s achievable. I have the time to allot and am physically capable of doing that much. It is relevant to weight loss and health. It meets my timeline (I don’t need anything but dedication to get started).
Those last two letters (E and R) are more for maintaining your goals. A month from now I’ll evaluate this goal. If I’m not meeting this goal, why not? Perhaps I need to adjust the time of day I plan on walking. Reviewing your goals is also key. You should look at your list of goals every day, or at least weekly. Remind yourself why you set these goals.
Take that other example: “I’m going to eat healthy.” Change that to, “I’m going to count calories” or “I’m going to eat less than 2,000 calories a day,” something like that. Make your goals clear and obtainable. Run through the SMARTER list when making them.
No matter what your personal goals or resolutions are, make smart (or SMARTER) ones. I wish you the best in achieving them.