When the clock struck midnight on 2023 and the ball dropped in Times Square in New York many of us were off to the races on our personal improvement plans for the new year. You may know these as New Year's Resolutions.
These scary words are uttered between December 26th and January 1st of a new year and can leave many shaking in their boots. The reason they can be anxiety inducing is that you may have made a resolution each year and not been able to keep it into the new year.
Fear not, this is common among all those who make resolutions. It can be very difficult to keep a resolution no matter what it is. Trying to improve yourself or your situation requires a focused attention that can be challenging to apply when life is flying by. So if you've planned to lose weight or stop smoking or develop a better skincare routine this year, fear not, you can make it happen with one simple word, SMART.
What is a SMART New Year's Resolution and how can it help you finally get that personal improvement plan to stick? It's not just a word it's really an acronym that describes for you exactly how you are going to stick to your resolution and finally beat back that feeling of failure at the start of every new year. A SMART resolution takes into account the following things to help make your resolution stick.
Specific. An open ended goal or resolution is not going to get it done. Your resolution should be very specific to what you want to accomplish. For instance, if you're trying to get healthier this year that's not going to cut it. Your resolution should include a specific amount of weight you want to lose, a certain amount of exercise you want to participate in or a habit you want to break.
Measurable. Let's say you want to lose weight which is a common resolution that many people make. A SMART goal would be to lose 10 lbs. in 10 weeks. This is measurable because it has a specific amount of weight you want to lose. Just saying you want to lose weight is not enough, you must put a number on it so you have something to work towards.
Attainable. Maybe your resolution is to read more books this year. Remember you will want it to be measurable, so maybe your resolution is to read 12 books this year. This hits the specific and measurable aspect of a SMART resolution, but is it attainable. For some people a book each month is attainable, so you will have to decide what is attainable for you.
Relevant. Don't just make a resolution because you think it is the right thing to do, you will want to make a resolution that really matters to you and aligns with your values, if it doesn't, you are likely not going to be able to achieve it because you don't really care that much about it. Make sure your resolutions truly matter to you so you will have success with them.
Time-Bound. You may be sensing a theme here, but open ended resolutions are a recipe for not succeeding with them. You will want to specify for how long you want to do something or in what time frame you will want to complete something. Say for instance you want to focus on your skincare routine and you want to make sure you use a daily facial cleanser each day. In order to be successful you should bind that with a specific time like, I want to use a daily facial cleanser each day for the next three months. This will allow you to have a time target in mind, see progress and reassess after the three months have passed.
Spending the time to make a good New Year's Resolution that will stick can be one of the best gifts you can give yourself in 2024. Make your resolution SMART and you will be much more likely to achieve it then if you make an open-ended one that really doesn't matter to you in the long run.