I love the start of a new year. It feels like a fresh start. I actually feel that way about the 1st day of every month. It’s when I take some time to reflect upon the previous month with gratitude and also set some new goals for the new month. Sometimes it’s just little things like finishing a new book I started or maybe it’s to be able to plank for 2 minutes.
Whatever the goal, accomplishing them always gives me such a sense of satisfaction. Here are my top things that have helped me, following tips from the S.M.A.R.T. method—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely. These will hopefully help you in the New Year, but also throughout the year to accomplish the goals you set out to do.
- I’m specific and my goal can be measured with a time on it.
I’m much more likely to follow through if these are in place.
“I want to run a 5k someday.” Okay, but what about: I will run a 5k this March.
There is a huge difference between want and will. We can “want” forever but until we “will” it most likely won’t happen. Also, setting the specific time goal to the month of March gives you a timeframe to go for.
- I have to be able to achieve my goal.
I am not going to set a goal for publishing a book in the next year if I have never even written an article before. Maybe I don’t even like to write? I could start by saying I am going to write 3 articles this month. Start small. When we achieve the small goals and follow through with them, we gain confidence and our goals become bigger naturally and we are more likely to follow through.
- Setting a goal that I am motivated to do and that is relevant/realistic in my life.
It doesn’t matter how much I want to do something or how much I should do something, if I’m not motivated it’s probably not going to happen. So I choose goals that I’m actually motivated to do. I don’t look at my friend and what she’s doing-I look at my own life and what I am motivated to work towards. It has to be relevant and realistic. I’m not going to backpack around South America in this season of my life with 2 kids..though it sounds fun, it’s just not practical for the here and now. So I choose things that are relevant to me in the season I am in.
- I also set my goals with God.
I take time to prayerfully ask Him what is on His heart for me in this season/month and believe that with Him I am able to walk it out. It is a powerful tool I have learned. I don’t want to waste my time doing something I’m not even supposed to be doing.
- I write it down and share it with someone, whether it be an online community of people, my spouse, or a life coach.
I know because of past experience and statistics that if it’s written down and I am held accountable that I am much more likely to follow through.
- I make a plan of action. See below ????
- I reward myself.
Depending on what my goal is. I decide beforehand what my reward will be and how often I will reward myself. If my goal is a yearlong goal, maybe I do a small weekly reward, a bigger monthly reward and an even bigger year reward. I determined what the reward is going to be. Maybe if I use the weight loss goal below my weekly reward is a manicure, my monthly a day out, and my yearly a new wardrobe. What reward is going to drive me?
Creating a plan of action
Okay, let’s talk for a minute about putting these goals into action. Let’s just use weight loss as a goal, because it’s a common one. If I set a goal to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year, I now need to decide how I am going to do that. Firstly, is it a SMART goal? Am I motivated? If the answer to both of those is yes, I am on the right path.
It’s important that I know the why behind the goal I set. Is my desire to lose the weight so that I can fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans or is it so I can weigh what I weighed in high school? What is the motivation? Knowing the motivation is huge in determining if I will stick with my goal or not.
From there I make an action plan…am I going to follow a certain diet, join weight watchers, commit to exercising for 30 minutes a day, see a nutritionist, get a personal trainer?
Once I set my goal, it’s important to break it down into tangible steps that I can do on a day to day or week to week to assure that I am doing all that I can to reach that goal. I know that losing 20 pounds won’t happen on its own. I have to take steps towards my goal. By breaking down my goal, it simplifies it and makes it possible.
I then check my progress. 1 month in, how am I doing? Am I on track? What needs to change in my life to continue towards my goal? Is my goal still important to me? I remember the why behind the what. I carry on. Little by little keeping the things above, and a lot of hard work my goal becomes a reality. I have lost the 20 pounds. I celebrate and I get the wardrobe. And then, I set a new goal.
Okay, I really hope this has empowered you to set some goals in this New Year and given you the tools to see them accomplished. If you are interested in trying to make S.M.A.R.T. goals, we’ve created a downloadable and printable PDF for you!
I would love to hear from you. What are your New Year’s Resolutions/goals? What is your action plan? Please share this post with someone you think would enjoy it.