How SMART Goals Can Help You Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

We've finally made it to the new year. It's that time when we're all buzzing with excitement as we focus on new beginnings and getting a fresh start in 2024. But, the new year can also feel overwhelming. Setting big goals and new year's resolutions sounds great in theory, but without making plans to reach them, you ultimately set yourself up for failure.

More than half of all New Year's resolutions fail. And there are many reasons why. But the problem with your resolutions isn’t you—it’s the resolutions themselves.

A big reason they fail is that the resolution is something you feel you must do, not something you actually want to do. Another reason is that the resolutions are too vague, and they don’t give you a solid plan to ensure you get what you want from them.

If you want to stick to your new year's resolutions this year, change your mindset. Instead of making general resolutions to eat healthier, exercise regularly, spend more time with family, or quit smoking, set some SMART goals.

What is a SMART goal?

The SMART in SMART goal stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. A SMART goal is designed to be attainable. It’s much more than a resolution—it’s a road map to help you get what you want from your life.

SMART goals offer structure and help expand planning deeper than goals like "I want to eat healthier." This process puts goals into action and forecasts barriers and solutions.

Specific: Start your planning here. A specific goal is clear and concrete. What are you trying to accomplish? Think about what you want to change and get detailed with it. For example, "eat healthier" isn't specific, but "add more veggies to my lunches" is a good step in the right direction.

Another popular resolution is losing weight. It's not a specific goal, but "lose 10 pounds over two months by changing up my diet and working out three times a week" is a very specific goal that will help you accomplish your resolution. 

Measurable: You need a way to track your goals. This step helps you visualize your goals and evaluate your progress. Having a measurable goal also creates a sense of accountability. "Add more veggies to my lunches" can become "meal prep veggies on Sunday to add into my lunches every day this week." Now you have something to measure and a much clearer plan.

You can also use numbers if you're trying to reach a weight-loss, exercise, or financial goal, like getting up to 50 squats per day by April, or saving $5,000 by the end of September. 

Attainable: Here's a good checkpoint—do you have the resources, tools, and info you need to achieve your goals? Your goals should be something you can realistically accomplish. For example, if your goal is to exercise seven days a week, but you have a packed schedule, try changing your goal to 4-5 days to give yourself some rest.

It's tempting to reach for the stars when making new year's resolutions, but you're more likely to stick to your goals if you make them something easier to achieve. Once you've attained your initial goal, you can always make adjustments to push yourself.

Relevant: A goal should be something you actually care about and want to do. If you're happy with your workout routine and schedule, there's no need to change it. If you don't want or need to learn a new language, don't make it a big resolution. Instead, focus on what you want to get from your life and the areas where you'd like to improve. You'll be much more motivated and excited to achieve these goals if they're relevant to your life.

Time-bound: Your goals should have a deadline so you can stay on track and measure your progress. It's really rewarding when you can see that you're getting results, and it can even motivate you to increase your goals.

For some, it's more helpful to break goals into smaller, bite-size ones, such as losing a pound per week, applying to three jobs per week, or saving $25 per week. These smaller goals can help you feel a greater sense of accomplishment over time, and push you to keep going.

Now that we've rung in the new year, we're ready to hunker down and make some New Year’s resolutions. Just remember not to get too vague or set too many goals—make a list of what you'd like to accomplish over the next year, then choose one or two resolutions from that list to turn into SMART goals.

If you achieve your goals before the end of the year, you can set new ones. When you reach a goal, remember to take the time to celebrate before you start on the next one.

We hope these SMART goals will help you kickstart your new year and allow you to make meaningful, lasting lifestyle changes. At OnSite Wellness, health and wellness is our specialty.

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