It’s that time of year again when we put the pressure on ourselves to set New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions and goal setting can be a healthy form of self-improvement, but when unachieved, can breed a feeling of failure and can be demotivating.
Here is the SMART formula for goal setting that is great to keep in mind when setting your New Year’s resolutions. Try to keep each of these factors in mind for any type of goal setting, and when you're planning where you want to be in life, ask yourself these questions.
1. Is my goal specific?
For example, you might say, “I want to be healthier.” That's a very general statement. Whereas, “I want to increase my vegetable consumption from three servings to six servings a day” is much more specific.
2. Can I measure my goal?
It’s pretty hard to measure "wanting to be healthier," but it’s simple to measure three servings versus six servings of vegetables. The more measurable a goal is, the easier it is to track it. Similarly, if you track your progress towards achieving a goal, the more likely you are to achieve it.
3. Is your goal within reason?
It’s not that your goal has to be easy, but if you stretch yourself, is it something you could achieve? For example, “I want to eat six servings of vegetables every day of the year.” Well, realistically, you might not be able to do that. But, “I want to eat six servings of vegetables at least three days a week” is much more attainable.
4. Is your goal relevant to your desires and life?
Is your goal something you actually want to achieve and that you are able to work toward? In my opinion, most food topics are relevant, as everyone has to eat, so the example I've been using is pretty relevant to everyone. But it's worth remembering that your goals should be relevant to your life, not anyone else's.
5. Does your goal have a good time frame?
To say that you will do this for all of 2014 might be unrealistic. You very well may adopt this into your daily routine for the entire year, but to sign up for a goal for the entire year seems daunting. Instead, try for a shorter time frame, like the month of January, and when you achieve that, set a new goal.