Ahh… the new year. It is a symbol of renewal of life and the birth of new hope. It bursts with the opportunity for inspiration and motivation to change. We often reflect this by creating a New Year’s Resolution.
Most people are ready to bid a farewell to 2020, a difficult and stressful year. Yet how can we better ourselves without feeling the pressure to create lofty declarations that set us up for disappointment? Is there a way to set ourselves up for success?
Yes! Let’s set goals that we can meet instead of grandiose resolutions.
Let’s look at … Resolutions vs. Goals
Consider the difference between these two statements:
- New Year’s Resolution: “I’m going to lose weight in the new year.”
- New Year’s Goal: “I will lose 15 pounds by spring break. I will do this by working out three days per week while also reducing my food intake to 1,500 calories per day.”
The goal is different because it is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time limited (S.M.A.R.T.). Statistically, you are far more likely to lose the weight with a goal than you are to lose weight with a resolution.
Characteristics of a S.M.A.R.T. Goal
A good goal is one that spells out who is responsible for the desired outcome and how they are responsible for meeting the outcome. A good goal has the following S.M.A.R.T. characteristics:
- Specific. A good goal is a specific goal. It indicates the who, what, when, where, and why, of your vision for change. It tells you what you hope to accomplish and the steps you must take to get there.
- Measurable. Effective goals also specify what success looks like, which must include measurement. In our example above, the goal writer indicates that success means losing 15 pounds.
- Attainable. Make sure you break down all goals (small or ambitious) into attainable steps. This can be done by breaking your goals into measurements you can reach within a couple of months. For example, if you need to lose 100 pounds but haven’t had success in losing more than 20 pounds, then make yourself an attainable goal of losing 15 pounds. Incremental steps can help you avoid discouragement along the way.
- Realistic. Goals can’t just be attainable – they must also be realistic. For example, if you don’t want to do the work to actually lose weight, then don’t set the goal. It will only be overwhelming and lead to discouragement. Pick it up again when you are ready to pursue it. Or choose other wording for your goal that motivates you. For example, set a goal to walk four times a week.
- Timely. Finally, a good goal is one that is time limited. Put a deadline on the goal. Giving yourself a timeframe can boost your motivation. Just don’t make it too short, because you want to give yourself time to complete the goal while also making the behaviors into a habit.
Here are a two more examples of resolutions vs. goals:
- Resolution: I resolve to get out of debt.
S.M.A.R.T. Goal: I will reduce my credit card debt by $2,000 by March 15. I will do so by applying my commission bonuses to the balance, rather than making minimum payments each month.
- Resolution: I will declutter my house.
S.M.A.R.T. Goal: I will reduce the clutter in my home by emptying my closet of everything that I have not worn in the past year. I will complete this task by the beginning of February. Once this goal is achieved, you can create additional goals to tackle other rooms.
It is so easy to feel the pressure to create idealistic New Year’s Resolutions. Take time this New Years to really consider who you want to be in the future. Employing S.M.A.R.T. goals can help you fulfill your vision.
Happy New Year! And may our changes make a difference in ourselves and in this world.
Struggling with your thoughts and feelings? Wanting to feel better? Call us today at 936-524-7523 or go to our website at www.thecenterforhopeandhealing.net