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Don’t Make Resolutions This Year – Set Goals!

Smart goals

Traditionally people make resolutions every New Year and by the end of the first month they’re already discarded! It’s no surprise when you think about the lack of planning or specificity that is generally associated with resolutions.

Instead I’ve made goals the last three years and have achieved more during that timeframe than in the previous decade!  Let’s take a look at how to set goals for 2013.

SMART Goals

The first time I heard about SMART goals was when my boss asked her managers to submit ours for the year to her after educating us on what that meant.  It took me longer to figure out I could use them in my personal life just as effectively.  Let’s take a look at what’s included in SMART goals.

S is for Specific

If one of my goals is to lose weight (and it is), I’m not likely to be as successful as I would like with just the statement

I will become healthier.

I need to make the goal specific so I know that losing one pound doesn’t let me tick off this goal.  Answer the six W’s: Who, what, why, which,where, and when.  A more specific goal is:

I will lose weight.

M is for Measurable

Making the goal measurable lets one track progress in the effort to meet it.  How else will I know when it’s achieved?  The goal becomes:

I will lose 10o  pounds.

A is for Attainable

Setting goals that are personally important helps one figure how how to make them come true.  However, I will never be able to grow another six inches so that would not be attainable.

I shouldn’t lose 100 pounds and it wouldn’t be doable in a year anyway.  So let’s change it to:

I will lose 25 pounds.

R is for Relevant

It’s important to make sure each goal is consistent with other goals you have established and fits in with both short and long term plans.  I’m not going to make any changes to the goal because it does support my long term plans and fits in with my other goals.

T is for Time Bound

A goal must have a target date otherwise the procrastinator in me will put it off forever.  I’m not motivated to complete it; however a deadline too far in the future is too easily put off. A goal that’s set too close is not only unrealistic, it’s discouraging.

My goal needs a timeframe so it is now:

I will lose at least 6 1/4 pounds each quarter in 2013.

Set Goals

If you haven’t already start out by setting long term goals.  What do you want to have accomplished in 3-5 years?  It might be something like buy a home to take a long-awaited trip to Europe.

Then set short-term goals which will be stepping stones to meeting those long term goals.  What do you want to have accomplished in the next month, next quarter and in 2013?

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