If you want to set your resolutions — and yourself — up for success in the new year, one of the most important things you need is clarity. Explore what you want to accomplish, how success looks and feels, and why it’s important to you. Once you have an idea of what you want to achieve, focus your objectives by creating SMARTer resolutions and a plan on how you will see them through.
Resolutions are goals we set for a new year, and the more you treat them like goals, the more likely you are to be a resolution champion.
Your SMARTer resolutions should be:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Time-based
For example, one of the most popular resolutions is weight loss. What’s one way to transform, “I want to lose weight,” into a SMARTer resolution?
I will lose 12 to 18 pounds by June 30 (in six months).
For me, this SMARTer resolution is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based. It’s clear who is trying to achieve what and when.
How do you know if it’s attainable and realistic? Review your past successes or challenges with the same or similar goals, and research the topic. In the case of weight loss, you may also want to consult with a physician. For other resolutions, you also may want to reach out to experts in relevant fields.
Having clear resolutions is a great first step, but you also need a plan. Think about what steps you need to take and then continue to drill down your tactics of what you will do, and possibly not do, to succeed.
The most important aspect of your resolution implementation plan is being honest with yourself. Ask yourself what you are most likely to execute or, even better, what you will enjoy doing. You can’t fool yourself, so don’t set yourself up to fail. If you’re not going to jog, give up fruit, or practice yoga every day, don’t include these things in your plan.
Once you have your initial plan, find ways to make implementing it easier. For example, if you plan on walking every morning, have your sneakers handy before you go to sleep. If you want to eat less chips or candy in between meals, prepare healthier snacks.
Include routine check-in times to evaluate, and possibly adjust, your plan or resolution. Whether it’s once a week or once a month, review your progress regularly and what’s working well. If you meet your goal early, consider expanding it. If it’s taking longer than expected, explore why and consider giving yourself more time. Remember, your SMARTer resolutions need to be realistic. It’s ok to learn as you go and adjust them to ensure success.
If you want to make positive, sustainable changes in the new year, give it your best shot with SMARTer resolutions and a viable plan.