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Have you been wondering how you can be SMART when making your New Year’s resolution? Despite the fact that more New Year’s resolutions are broken each year than any other goal, we still look forward to opening that brand new calendar and imagining the possibilities that lie ahead for the New Year.

If you plan on meeting the challenge of making a New Year’s resolution, you may as well ensure that you make SMART choices, right?

SMART is an acronym for several different stages of the goal setting process. If you’re planning to make a New Year’s resolution, it’s important to become familiar with what each letter stands for so that you can develop achievable resolutions.

The following represents SMART goals, broken down into an easy to understand manner:

1. Specific. The first step to creating a SMART New Year’s resolution is to be Specific. You can’t just say “I want to lose weight” – that’s a very general statement with no real meaning. Try saying “I want to lose ten pounds.” That’s more specific.

  • Whatever your specific goal is, write it down and post it where you will be reminded everyday.

2. Measurable. The next step is to make sure that the goal is Measurable. When we set goals, it’s important that we’re able to measure levels of our achievement. By measuring, we can keep track of our progress and feel more motivated to move toward our final goal.

  • Make a chart or keep a journal to track your successes and achievements. Seeing a visual guide will help motivate you, especially during tough days.

3. Attainable. Set goals that you know you can achieve, or that are Attainable for you. If you set a goal of losing one hundred pounds, for example, this is not attainable for a short-term goal, and you’ll soon lose confidence. However, one pound a week is certainly an attainable goal.

  • If you have a very large goal, such as getting out of debt or losing a large amount of weight, break that large goal into much smaller goals or steps. Achieving a small goal every week will keep you determined to work harder and smarter.

4. Realistic. The next aspect to the SMART New Year’s resolution system is that your goal must also be Realistic. For example, setting a goal to win the Lottery is not particularly realistic. It’s possible, but not probable. Also, it’s not something you have any control over.

  • For maximum success and continued motivation, choose goals that are something you can realistically expect to accomplish, even if you need to divide the final goal into smaller attainable steps.

5. Timely. The last aspect of the SMART system is Timely. When setting a New Year’s resolution, you’re much more likely to succeed if there’s a time frame associated with the resolution. You may give yourself a month, six months, or the whole year – the choice is yours. The most important thing is that you take the time to set an end date.

  • Once you set a final deadline, work backwards and determine the deadlines of your smaller goals. Pacing yourself throughout the year is more beneficial and less stressful than saving all the work for the last month before your final deadline.

Making New Year’s resolutions is very easy but those resolutions made without a clear plan in mind are prone to failure. It takes a little work to ensure that the resolutions you set are SMART. However, the SMART method can also ensure your success with an achievable plan! And that makes all the difference.

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