Rock Your Resolution
Every year, over 40% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions – lose weight, get active, quit smoking. However, research from the University of Scranton found that only 8% of individuals are successful (University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology)! Many people start strong, but quit by February. Setting SMART goals is a simple way to turn your New Year’s resolutions into a realistic action plan.
SMART stands for:
Specific: Concrete, detailed and well-defined so that you know where you are going and what to expect when you arrive
Measurable: Numbers and quantities provide means of measurement and comparison
Achievable/Action-Oriented: Feasible and easy to put into action
Realistic: Consider constraints such as resources, people, cost and time frame
Time: A time frame helps to set boundaries around the objective
By structuring your goals with specific components, as opposed to generalized ideas of what you might want to achieve, you can hold yourself accountable for reaching your goals. A statement with very few specifics easily slips back into being a resolution that we all eventually ignore or discard because it has no mechanisms for accountability.
As detailed as possible- Ask yourself the 6 W’s
Who is involved?
What do I want to accomplish?
Where will this happen? Identify a location.
When will this happen? Establish a time frame.
Which requirements and restraints will be part of the process? Identify them.
Why am I setting this goal? Jot down the specific reasons and benefits of accomplishing this goal.
MAKE IT MEASURABLE
If you set a short-term goal to drink at least 40 ounces of water per day, how will you know you meet that goal if you’re not keeping track of how much water you drink? You can’t monitor what you can’t measure! That’s why we need to be able to measure the success and progress of our goals. Put concrete numbers in your goals to know if you're falling behind or if you're on track. Being able to measure the small details will help us add those up to large successes over time.
What types of things should you track? Depending on your goal, you can track what you eat how much exercise you do, how much money you spend and on what, or the use of stress management techniques.
MAKE IT ACTIONABLE
"Action-Oriented" refers to identifying the actions that may be taken rather than just focusing on personal qualities. To illustrate this point, think back to a time when you have made a New Year's Resolution to do something like “lose weight". If you are like most people, you probably didn't make much progress toward this goal. Why? The answer is because you have nothing to really work toward that’s specific.
It is nearly impossibly to change something that’s too general or that you can’t definitively act on. However, it is possible to engage in certain actions that achieve your goal. For instance, if you had instead resolved to "spend 30 minutes each day walking for the next three months and cutting back on soda", you can easily determine whether you are actually doing what you set out to achieve. In the end, you can hold yourself accountable for engaging in the action item.
KNOW YOUR WHY
What is your motivation? Understanding the why can help keep you going when you feel like quitting.
Your goals should be challenging without being unachievable.
Your goals should be written down in positive terms. Think do instead of DON’T!
Post your goals so they are visible. Being able to see them (and others seeing them) will keep you accountable!
The goal should be yours! You need to do this for you and NO ONE else. Don’t try to meet the expectations others set for you.
Know what resources your need to help achieve your goal.
Cut yourself some slack and be flexible! Life is rapidly moving and your goals still need to be realistic and fit into what's possible. If there are big changes in your life the goals need to be fluid enough to change too if needed.
Be realistic with your goal as well - it’s important to think about all the things you have to do, and all the things you want to do. Now think about your goal, and where that fits in. You are the only one who knows your full potential and capabilities.
KNOW YOUR TIMELINE
This is one of the most important components of your goal. Setting a deadline keeps you on track for success and motivates action. While the end date for reaching our goal is important, it also enables us set shorter-term goals that will help us assess our progress toward achieving our goals. Break your goal into short and long term goals that have a due-by date. Your goals should be a positive action plan.
Goals set too far in the future don’t have a sense of urgency.
“I don’t need to start today because I have 6 months to get it done!”
Create weekly targets that will help you achieve your long term objective.
I want to jog a 5k in June, so this week I am going to join a gym, talk to a personal trainer there about a training program, and workout at least 2 additional days per the program.
Set a time each week for you to review your progress toward meeting your goals. How are you doing? Are you progressing as scheduled? If so, great! If not, your task is to find out why you are not. What is getting in the way? Can you solve the problem and continue as planned? Was the goal unrealistic and should you revise it?
The start of the new year is always a great time to consider your current lifestyle and think about whether there is anything you would like to change or improve regarding your health or well-being. Are you ready to set your next healthy lifestyle goal? Use these steps to help you and your employees be successful in 2021 and beyond, and find additional resources and events with FitPros, including health talks, fitness classes, and social engagement events to help you and your employees be the healthiest they can be!
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