The new year comes with excitement, anticipation, and promise. For many, it provides an opportunity for positive changes and self-improvement, but setting expectations too high can often lead to frustration rather than success.
Don’t let lofty ambitions overshadow reality and crush your chances of hitting target. This year, resolve to avoid setting your standards too high. Take on the new year with enthusiasm, but be SMART about it.
SMART is an acronym used to set small, achievable goals which will gradually aid in progress toward larger aspirations. Instead of setting general, overstated goals, think about the actions you can take to help yourself get there. Use the parameters below to organize those actions into a more manageable objective.
S is for SPECIFIC
M is for MEASURABLE
A is for ATTAINABLE
R is for REALISTIC
T is for TIMELY
Let’s use exercise as an example.
1. Be SPECIFIC. Define what you are trying to accomplish. How will you exercise? Where will you do it?
2. Make it MEASURABLE. Set a framework so you will know whether or not you accomplish the goal. How much exercise will you do and how often?
3. Evaluate if this is ATTAINABLE. Remember, setting a goal too high may hinder your success. Can you actually exercise this much?
4. Determine if your idea is REALISTIC. Will you honestly exercise this many days per week with your busy schedule? If not, you may need to start a little smaller.
5. Make it TIMELY. You have now chosen the type of exercise, how much you can do, and how often you will do it. Now, schedule it into your life when it will make the most sense and create a time frame to reevaluate how you are doing.
Goal: I will walk around my neighborhood for at least 30 minutes 3 days per week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings for 2 weeks starting next Monday.
TIP: It is a good idea to write down your goal and post it somewhere you will see it every day as a reminder of what you are trying to do.
At the end of your timeline, analyze your results. If you accomplished your goal, set a new one. Maybe you can increase the amount of time or days per week that you are exercising. If you were unsuccessful, determine the cause and address it. Perhaps you couldn’t walk because of a knee injury. Instead, choose a different activity that will not hurt your knee such as seated aerobics and try again.
TIP: Plan for roadblocks. Winter weather may prevent you from going outside to walk. Have a back-up plan. You can pick somewhere indoors to walk such as a local gym or community center or even the mall. Sometimes, the weather can keep you from driving to these places, so you should have a plan for activities you can do at home as well to avoid potential excuses.
Start out 2018 right and resolve to exercise your SMARTs for a healthy new year!