Studies show that only about 19% of people who set New Years resolutions maintain their goals long term.
What is goal setting?
Goal setting is the practice of cultivating and developing an action plan to motivate and guide someone towards a specific goal. Goal setting is a common practice in self development and can include the use of goal setting techniques such as SMART criteria . Goal setting is the first step in planning ahead for the future and for achieving the life you desire to live in various facets including but not limited to your health, relationships, education, work/career, etc.
So what is this SMART criteria?
SMART is simply an acronym for the guide to goal setting. The purpose of using SMART to help guide you in your goal setting process is to provide clarity to your ideas, bring focus to your work, help you to use your time and resources in a productive manner, and help you achieve lasting success for your goals.
What does SMART stand for?
Specific: Target a specific area for improvement
Measurable: Set a goal that’s measurable
Attainable/Achievable: Is this goal possible to attain?
Relevant/Realistic: Can this goal realistically be achieved? Is this goal relevant and does it make sense for you?
Time Bound: State when you will get it done and state a specific time frame or end date for goal.
Next time you want to achieve a specific goal, take some time and break it down into a SMART goal and write down each specific step and how you will achieve it.
One of the questions I like to ask myself and have my clients ask themselves first and foremost is ‘why are you doing this?’ If we do not assign a bigger ‘why’ to our goal setting, we will have no purpose or value to fall back on when things get tough and we want to throw in the towel. Your ‘why’ is not only your fire starter so to speak, but it’s also your fuel to keep the fire burning. When the flames have simmered down on your goals, what is the thing that will reignite that flame, that fire within you? It needs to be your ‘why’, your deeper purpose and vision for your life. Take some time to think about your ‘why’ and cast a vision for where you want to be in 10 or 20 years. Think about the life you want to look back on when you are 80 years old. Think about the legacy you want to leave behind and the imprint you want to leave on your family and community.
I know it can seem daunting and overwhelming to think about your life in such a big picture kind of way and then figure out how you are going to get there. The secret sauce is to start small. I am a firm believer that little adds up and that the small daily decisions we make ultimately impact our life long-term. As Annie Dillard once said, “how we live our days is how we live our lives.” So our 80-year old vision for our life has to start here and now, today. Start small.
Why Small Works: Again, going back to SMART goals, it’s important to have specific and reasonable goals. It can be easy to get excited and jump in with both feet without really thinking about the logistics of how you will achieve the goals you have set. This is one of the biggest reasons why New Year’s Resolutions fail. But they don’t have to.
Find Accountability: Whether it’s a friend, a co-worker, spouse, or one of our health coaches here at STAT Wellness, having an accountability partner will greatly impact your success in maintaining your goals and achieving them! Have your accountability partner check in with you via text or email once a week or however often you decide you need accountability for your specific goals. Working with a health coach is a great way to not only receive accountability but it also provides a time and space to discuss any barriers or obstacles coming in your way and how to overcome them so that your goals stay a reality.
With these few pointers, I hope you can set your goals into motion this year and every year. And remember, there is nothing special about January 1st. Today is as good a day as any to begin working towards a new goal and begin living a healthier lifestyle. If you have a goal or need to re-evaluate your priorities and how you want to live your life, today is as good a day to begin! I promise you won’t regret it. Don’t wait until next year to begin living a life of purpose and priority, achieving the goals that matter to you.