Welcome to 2017! We’ll probably get the hang of writing the numbers 2-0-1-7 in our agendas once May rolls around -- anyone else have this issue?
In all seriousness, a new year means another promising attempt at accomplishing our ambitious new year’s resolutions. We know it can be daunting, but don’t put it off! The first few days of the new year are the perfect time to force ourselves into a new routine, make a crucial changes or commit to something different. When the going gets tough, just remind yourself that it will only get easier and truly pay off in the long run. Don’t let your (failed) track record keep you from trying again. Avoid your mind going to that dark place it’s gone to before. You know, that place where you tell yourself, “Hey, what’s another year of biting my nails when I’ve already been biting them for 20?”. We all have it in us to reach our goals and conquer these resolutions. Let’s make 2017 one for the books and kick those bad habits to the curb -- after all, they’re so 2016...
Now if that pep talk still didn’t do the trick, maybe SMART goals will help! Let’s break it down, shall we?
Specific: It’s important to set a specific, well-defined goal. This means one single, clear-cut objective. We live in a time where we believe that we are experts at multitasking, but the truth is, our brains work better by focusing on one single task at a time. Hence, focusing on one change at a time. MindTools declares that the best way to do this is by answering what exactly you want to accomplish, why it’s important, who’s involved, and how you are limited. Listing all the focus areas that surround your goal will make it as specific and attainable as can be, making it all the more easy to achieve.
Measurable: Without being able to measure your goal, how will you be able to track your progress? It’s best to keep a schedule; this way, you can reward yourself after every milestone. Positive reinforcement will help you to stay focused and motivated to meet deadlines. To ensure it’s measurable, answer the “how” questions; for example, how long will it take to stop smoking? After how many days will I slowly start to see my 6-pack creeping through? Questions that you look forward to answering.
Achievable: Let’s be realistic here and set a goal that you know you absolutely have the ability to achieve. Don’t set the goal to become a more adventurous foodie when you’re allergic to both dairy and wheat. Give yourself the challenge of getting promoted in a couple month’s time, forcing yourself to work harder and be more productive at the office. If you know you can achieve it, you will constantly feel motivated to prove yourself right.
Relevant: If your goal isn’t relevant to your own life and struggles, you won’t really feel the need to accomplish it. Just because the number 1 new year’s resolution is losing weight, doesn’t mean that you need to add that to your list of goals. This step is all about you and ensuring that your resolution truly matters to you. The support of family and friends will always help, but make sure that you have full control over your own goal.
Time-bound: When setting a goal, whether it’s a new year’s one or not, it’s pretty routine to set a target date. In this case, that date needs to be set in stone. Write it down and make sure that you follow your deadline. Without strict rules, you will lose motivation and keep postponing the end date. The Brain Flux actually studied how effective it was to start achieving your goal on a Monday, so keep in mind specific dates and times for deadlines throughout your resolution schedule.
Here are some extra tips to help you achieve your goals:
- Make it gradual. In order to stay motivated, it’s important to move up in increments. Rather than simply stating that you will stop drinking by March 2017, give yourself gradual short-term goals to hit. Build a timeline of your tasks and view each step as reaching a portion of the ultimate goal. By separating it into different parts, you will progressively reach your objective, making it a slow, but rewarding, climb to accomplishment.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your friends and family are always there to support you. If your goal is truly relevant and meaningful to you, they will want nothing more than to help you achieve it as best as you can. There is never any harm in asking for a helping hand, that’s what they’re there for!
- Accessorize your goal. Of course, what better way to stay motivated than accessorizing yourself in whatever may help you achieve your goal. Buy some cool gear (like workout clothes for example) that will really put you into the mindset of making that change!
We hope this left you feeling inspired! Let 2017 be the year of finally putting your long-term resolutions to rest. Set your SMART goals, push through the tough day, and accomplish your aspirations for this new year. We’re rooting for you!