It’s that time of year when we are setting our New Year’s Resolutions and Goals for 2016. Many of us start out with grand ideas of changing everything from our exercise routines and the meals we eat to keeping in touch with old friends and getting more involved in our community. One thing we forget to do is frame our goals in a way that makes sense and that we have a chance at keeping.
Setting SMART goals gives you not only a way to break up your goals into manageable bites, but a way to measure your progress along the way.
- S is for Specific – Without a clear detailed goal in mind, you could easily get off track or decide you don’t know where to start, so you don’t start at all. I will eat a vegetarian dinner every Monday is better than I will eat more vegetables.
- M is for Measurable – Always set goals that allow you to check in on your progress, to ensure you are in fact making progress or maybe need to reassess. I will attend one Pilates class and one yoga class every week is better than I will attend more exercise classes.
- A is for Attainable – It’s very tempting to set lofty goals as we enter the new year with a clean slate and big ideas of how this will be the year that everything changes. But we need to stay realistic if we truly want to make changes. I am going to go to bed at 9pm every night is specific and measureable, but if you are currently going to bed between 10 and 11 most nights, a better goal would first be to move bedtime up by 15 min. Once you have been able to stick to that goal for a while, you can work toward moving up your bedtime in 15 min. increments and may eventually reach 9pm.
- R is for Relevant – Don’t fall into the trap of setting goals that you think you should set, or that all your friends and family are setting. Make sure you are setting goals that will mean something to you. If you are fairly healthy and fit, losing weight might not be a great goal for you. Trying out a new vegetable every month or getting together with friends once a month for a hike might make more sense.
- T is for Time-Bound – This one goes hand in hand with the M for Measurable. Setting weekly, monthly or quarterly goals give you a chance to check in and make any adjustments you may need. By setting a time-goal, you are also giving yourself a deadline which most of us respond well to. Signing up for a wellness plan where you can schedule monthly chiropractic adjustments is a great way to set a SMART goal.