It's that time of year again -- everyone is setting goals and making plans for self-improvement in the new year by writing new year's resolutions. There's a lot of advice out there on how to stick to your resolutions once you set them, but one of the best ways to set yourself up for success is to be "SMART" about your goal-setting. 

The SMART acronym stands for: 

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Action-oriented

  • Realistic

  • Time-bound

Learn more about how these criteria can help you find success when making your resolutions.

Set Goals That Are Specific

Aiming to eat better, exercise more, or manage your money better are all great goals, but they're not specific, so it's hard to act on them in a specific way. More detailed versions of these resolutions might be to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, exercise for 30 minutes at least four times a week, or set aside $10 a week in a savings account.

Use real numbers and real deadlines. State exactly what you want to accomplish. Ask yourself who, what, why, where, and when to make it as specific as possible. 

Set Goals That Are Measurable

Success is easier to recognize when you can measure it. Perhaps you've decided to spend five minutes a day journaling. Set a timer, so you'll be sure to meet your goal time. And track your progress in a chart or spreadsheet. You'll feel more accomplished when you keep a record and celebrate milestones along the way.

Set Goals That Are Action-Oriented

Your goals should be things you can achieve through your own actions. Pick something that you plan to do that doesn't rely on circumstances outside of your control. For instance, you can decide to exercise for 30 minutes a day. You have control over whether that happens or not. You can't decide to spend 15 minutes a day sitting in the sun because it requires every day to be sunny. 

Set Goals That Are Realistic

Losing weight is one of the most common resolutions, but you can't drop 50 pounds in a month. And resolving to run a marathon by the middle of January might not be realistic for someone inactive for a while. If you're making health-related resolutions, it's always a good idea to talk with a health care provider first about what makes sense for you.

Set Goals That Are Time-Bound

Include time frames in your goals. Aim to meet certain milestones at a set time, whether it's a week, a month, or three months. You'll be more likely to take action, rather than putting it off, if there's an actual deadline.

Set short-term goals that build. That marathon may not be completely out of sight for you, but you'll likely have better chances for success if you start aiming for smaller distances and build up your endurance over time.

The start of a new year is an exciting time to think about making positive changes in your life. At Confidant, we want to support your chances for success by helping you plan SMARTly. Reach out to a Confidant provider today and they will help you come up with realistic resolutions and a plan to stick to them. Just message your matchmaker in the chat section of the app to get started.