Are you making any resolutions this year? This January 1st marks the beginning of a new year AND a new decade, so it can be a time to take stock, get inspired and make a plan. Here’s how to identify the right resolution to improve a specific part of your life, and make a plan on how to reach it. When considering any life changes, whether big or small, your goals should be always be smart — and S.M.A.R.T. This acronym was coined in the journal Management Review in 1981 for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. It may work for business, but it can also be helpful in setting your personal resolutions, too. Be Specific. Your resolution should be abso- lutely clear. Instead of a vague goal like “I want to cut down on social media time”, you could say “I will cut my social media time down to ½ an hour a day”. Be sure your goals are limited in their scope and unambiguous in their meaning. Make it Measurable. This one’s easy if your goal is a fitness or weight loss related, but it should apply to other goals as well. Find a way to measure your success; start filling up a jar with the cash you would otherwise spend on fast food, or start a journal logging your exercise. Measuring and documenting your
successes can help you track and and reinforce your progress, no matter what your resolution might be. Be sure it’s Achievable. Trying to take big steps too fast can leave you frustrated or overwhelm you to the point that your resolution takes over your life. Be realistic in your plans; if you’ve never been to the gym before, suddenly going 5 times a week is a big change to make very suddenly. Start small and then work your way up to those big goals. Create goals that are Relevant. Be sure to set goals because they really matter to you, not because someone else wants it or because society wants you to change. If you want to make changes out of desperation or because of a moment of passion, you might not be as motivated to follow through. Make your goals Time-bound. The timeline you set for reaching your goal should be realistic but firm, so give yourself enough time to get there. Try setting up some smaller intermediate goalposts along the way and focus on these small wins so you can make gradual progress over a set amount of time. Whatever your goals for the new year and new decade, be kind to yourself, be patient and stay positive. Happy New Year!
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