The beginning of a brand new year creates the ideal atmosphere for self-evaluation and self-improvement, leading to the time-honored tradition of New Year’s resolutions. Some of the most common New Year’s resolutions include healthier lifestyles, increased confidence, new experiences, and new relationships. In each and every case, these wonderful New Year’s resolutions stem from a desire to become a better and happier person.
However, despite high levels of motivation and excitement in the New Year, many people report repeated failures in meeting these goals, often resulting in the reemergence of the same goals for the following year! The secret to successful accomplishment of goals lies within careful planning and consistent tracking.
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Careful planning of your goals involve an adherence to SMART criteria. This SMART acronym refers to crucial goal setting criteria. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound. First, when you set a goal, you need to make it specific. If the goal is to become healthier, it must include descriptions of what this means in specific detail. The goal may be about weight loss, increased activity, or perhaps aspects of both. It must be specified.
Second, goals must be measurable. You must be able to note progress and define the criteria for when the goal is met. If the goal is to be more active, then this might be defined in terms of frequency of activity each week or in terms of exercise hours per day.
Third, goals are achievable. If your goal is to take up a new exercise routine that cannot feasibly fit into your schedule, then the goal is not achievable. Fourth, relevant goals must be meaningful to you. If your goal is to increase activity, then choose activities you would enjoy. If you cannot motivate yourself or find satisfaction in your chosen activities, then the goal is not relevant or realistic.
Lastly, goals are time bound which mean they must be done within a certain time frame. Without a set beginning and ending, there is no urgency to complete the goal. Typically, if goals do not initially match the SMART criteria, then there is the opportunity to add the necessary details to turn it into a SMART goal. With carefully designed goals, you set yourself up for success.
Once planning is complete, then progress tracking steps in and becomes the most integral part of goal achievement. The best way to ensure consistency is to track progress in your planner. STARTplanner offers daily, weekly, and monthly schedulers to help you organize your life for success.
It is important to schedule out your goal activities and note your achievements, as this serves as a necessary gauge to your progress. Tracking reinforces focus and motivation on a daily basis. Over a longer period of time, tracking reminds you of your achievements and helps you power through challenging periods. Tracking keeps you from being overwhelmed by breaking down your goal into manageable chunks and ultimately keeps you accountable.
The best way to set up tracking is to schedule your goal activities in the exact same way you would, as all your other activities. Do not forget to utilize your planner’s flexibility and set up goal checkpoints throughout the rest of your year. Finally, consider scheduling celebration points as well, to highlight your successes throughout the year.