Making and Keeping your New Year's Resolutions by Jade Caswell, MA
A New Year bring new hopes, goals and dreams for the future. If you are like many people, you
might be considering setting New Year's resolutions. While these may be easy to set, it is often
more difficult to stick with them. Oftentimes, we set goals that are too vague or do not draw up
actionable steps towards realizing our goals. Because of this, we may find ourselves not
knowing where to start or failing to achieve our goals altogether. By following SMART goals, we
have a better chance at setting and attaining our resolutions for the new year. Learn more
about the acronym, and how to set SMART goals below.
Make your goal SPECIFIC
This means that you know what your goals is, and make it as detailed as possible. Instead of
setting a goal to cut down on drinking in 2023, you could instead set a goal to reduce alcohol
consumption by 2-3 drinks per week. Setting specific goals helps us stay on track, visualize our
goals, and increase motivation towards them.
Make your goal Measurable
Try to think about how you will track progress towards your goal. For instance, if you are trying
to cut down on drinking, how will you track how many units of alcohol you have consumed per
week? Consider using a chart, scale, or any other unit of measurement to track your progress.
Make your goal Achievable
Although some of us may be tempted to set resolutions such as to lose 20 pounds by next month,
or to cut down on all sugar consumption by next week, these goals are often unrealistic, and don't
allow for gradual progress in an acceptable timeframe. Setting goals that are unrealistic can
often lead to feelings of failure or frustration when we do not reach them, however, we can
avoid this by asking ourselves if our goals are achievable with appropriate time and effort.
Make your goal Relevant
Ask yourself, "Is this a goal that is meaningful to me?". This is one of the most important steps of
setting SMART goals. If a goal is not meaningful or relevant to an individual's life, it will be
difficult to find the motivation to achieve the goal.
Make your goal Timely
Be sure to set a realistic deadline for your goal. For instance, losing 20 pounds by next month
may not be timely or realistic, but losing 20 pounds within a 6 month timeframe may be. Put
simply, give yourself enough time to reach your goals! In addition, be realistic with how much time,
effort and resources you may be willing to put forth to achieve your goals.
If you have followed all of the SMART goal steps - Congratulations! You are one step closer to
reaching and achieving your goals this year!
By Jade Caswell, MA, Licensed Mental Health Counselor Associate