As we kick off a new year, many of us are thinking about our resolutions and how we can make this year better than the last. One tool that can be helpful in setting and achieving your goals is the SMART criteria. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Using these criteria can help you create well-defined goals that are more likely to be successful.
Here’s how to use the SMART criteria to set goals for the new year:
Specific: Be clear and specific about what you want to accomplish. Instead of setting a vague goal like “lose weight,” try setting a specific goal like “lose 10 pounds by March 1st by exercising at least 3 times per week and eating a balanced diet.”
Measurable: Make sure your goal can be measured so you can track your progress. In the example above, the goal is measurable because it includes a specific weight loss target and specific actions to take.
Achievable: Choose a goal that is realistic and achievable given your current resources and constraints. Losing 10 pounds in 3 months is likely achievable for many people, but losing 100 pounds in the same time frame might not be.
Relevant: Make sure your goal is relevant to your values and priorities. Losing weight might not be a relevant goal if your primary concern is improving your mental health.
Time-bound: Set a deadline for achieving your goal to create a sense of urgency. In the example above, the deadline is March 1st.
By following the SMART criteria, you can set clear and specific goals that are more likely to be achieved. Remember to be flexible and adjust your goals as needed if you find that they are not realistic or relevant. And most importantly, don’t get discouraged if you don’t achieve your goal right away – progress takes time and effort. Keep working towards your goal and you will get there eventually.