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Feature Articles

Get SMART
Sheila Kalas
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Make sure your New Year's resolutions are Attainable and Realistic

It's hard to separate January from New Years resolutions; they seem to be synonymous. For quite some time January has been the month to start fresh, to get rid of all those bad habits and adopt new, healthy ones. January is the time that you are going to change and finally become the person you always knew you could be, right?

The sad truth is that most resolutions either fail or are forgotten by mid February. Most of us slowly slip back to where we were on Dec. 31, the year before.

So, why even make resolutions? Because they don't have to fail or be forgotten, you can adopt your resolution successfully -- if you take the time to do it right. A resolution is really more like a goal, and proper goal setting can be achieved if you have the determination and discipline. Goal setting or resolution setting is not the problem, it's how most people go about it.

The problem with most goals is two fold:

  1. They are too lofty and unrealistic

  2. They have no timeline or gradual steps associated with them.

Most goals/resolutions are just big, bold statements like, "I am not going to eat fried foods anymore" or "I'm going to work out three times a week."

If you really want to make some changes in your life, then you must spend a little more time thinking about how you are going to make that happen. Instead of just blurting out some pie-in-the-ski wish that you want to happen, sit down and make a plan.

A goal or resolution with an achievable plan is called a SMART goal. Smart, in this incidence, is actually an acronym. It stands for: Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

In order for any goal or resolution to have a chance of being successful, it should follow this format.

Think about the last time you made a resolution or tried to set a goal. Did you think through all these components? Did you succeed?

Many people hit a few out these five pieces of a SMART goal, but not all of them. "Attainable and realistic" are two discouraging culprits I deal with a lot in my business. Losing 10 pounds in two weeks is not realistic and hardly attainable, in a healthy way, but I have lots of requests from people to have me help them with that.

I think that the timely element of goal setting is extremely important. The time table you set must also be attainable and realistic. Don't forget that changing habits does take time. If you have not worked out in a long time, you hate it, and you have a really demanding job and busy schedule -- don't set a goal of working out an hour every day. Give yourself a few months to ease into a regular workout schedule.

Remember that every little step toward your goal is progress that you should feel good about. Too many people focus on what they have not achieved instead of what they have.

Give yourself a chance and give yourself a break. Make a resolution, but make it under the smart goal standard and don't be so hard on yourself.




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