Thinking about making a New Year's resolution, but worried about keeping it? Good intentions alone aren't enough. So what can you do this New Year to make changes that last? This year make your goals SMART, as in Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Be specific and think about "W" words: who, what, where, when, and why. To help make your New Year's resolutions stick, check out these tips.
- Make them measurable. Make your goals this year measurable by setting criteria for knowing whether you've reached your goal. Ask yourself how you will measure progress and if your goal is attainable.
- Break up larger goals into smaller ones. Have you ever made a bunch of resolutions, but been overwhelmed with trying to make changes? It's easy to get discouraged with big goals that don't have any payoff in the short-term, so it can help to break up a larger goal into smaller ones.
- Put your goals on a timeline. Make sure your goals are realistic and that they are something you are willing and able to work toward. Also, do you have a time frame? Push yourself forward by setting a date for smaller and larger goals.
- Reward yourself in healthy ways. Want to set a New Year's resolution, but have trouble staying motivated to make changes? One way to stay motivated is to reward yourself when you reach "mini" goals or milestones. Avoid using rewards that are not in line with your resolution; reward yourself with something that reinforces your new habit such as a health or fitness magazine subscription or fitness equipment.
This year remember to make your New Year's resolutions specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. By applying these concepts and techniques you can reduce the chances of feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or losing motivation.
- Rivetto, L. October 2018. SMART Goals Make Good Resolutions All Year. Michigan State University Extension. Accessed at: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/smart_goals_make_good_new_years_resolutions.
- Mellendorf, C. January 2020. Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions, Make S.M.A.R.T. Goals. University of Illinois Extension. Accessed at: https://extension.illinois.edu/news-releases/dont-make-new-years-resolutions-make-smart-goals
- Wheeler, T. A SMART Goal-Setting Strategy. The Ohio State University. Accessed at: https://u.osu.edu/tadwheeler/a-smart-goal-setting-strategy/