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The beginning of a new year always holds such promise – an era of newness, filled with the optimism to better oneself. A chance to start fresh, yet change is hard. Many of us come up with all sorts of New Year’s resolutions – whether it is increasing your physical fitness, losing weight, saving more money or learning a new language. The reality is only 9.2% of people actually achieve their goals and manage to break free from their bad habits. The vast majority of us don’t even manage to make it past the first month!
Often we fail because we are not making the right resolutions. This year, make a real difference by implementing this SMART strategy to make lasting change in your life, not just in your resolutions, but any goals you might have in life (at any time of the year). I hope you find them useful to increasing your chances for lasting success and a healthier more fulfilling life.
- S is for specific. Make your goal absolutely clear – eg. if you want to save more money for your RRSP, decide what specific amount of money you would like to save and by when
- M is for measurable. It is incredibly important not only to write down your goal, but also to log your progress. Whether you use old fashioned pen and paper, or track your results on a suitable app, the difference between tracking your results and not will significantly affect your ability to successfully achieve your goal
- A is for achievable. There is nothing wrong with setting big goals for yourself, but you are more likely to realize your goals if you break it down into smaller goals. When you tackle a larger task, it may interfere with your lifestyle in such a way as to really affect its sustainability. We are much better at implementing small changes successively, rather than tackling a big goal for a few days (or weeks) and then ultimately fail at it.
- R is for relevant. You need to ask yourself what your motivation is for your goal – is it intrinsic (and therefore based on a value that is important to you), or something that someone (or society) thinks you should do better? Ask yourself what are your reasons for working towards this goal. When it is important to you, you will find it much easier to make to implement changes.
- T is for timebound. We often are not very kind to ourselves. I think one of the most popular resolutions is to lose weight. We give ourselves plenty of time to gain weight, but then want to lose it in a matter of weeks, or even days! Giving yourself enough time to reach your goal, with plenty of intervals to measure the intermediate success along the way. In this way, you building a better habit for years, instead of a short term fix over a few months. Remember, it takes 66 days to change a habit.