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SMART Goal Setting

Here's why SMART goal-setting is more effective than New Year's Resolutions!

Renewing a gym membership, reducing screen time, or finally going on that long-awaited holiday... are just a few of the most common resolutions set by Australians seeking to revel in the hope and prosperity of the new year. While nearly 71% of Australian adults have set a New Year’s resolution when the clock strikes midnight, the reality is, more than half will have already abandoned their plans to better their lives before they have had a chance to see them through.

However, most New Year's resolutions fail not due to the person themselves, but because they are too ambitious, vague, or lack concrete steps for success. This is where the acronym-based goal-setting framework S.M.A.R.T comes in, standing for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

What is the S.M.A.R.T goal-setting framework?

When you are sitting down to write goals for the different aspects of your life you seek to change or improve in the new year, consider the following as they relate to specific parts of the acronym:

Specific: Start with specific. It is imperative to be clear on what you want to accomplish and why it is important to you. This helps to avoid misinterpretation and establish clarity around what you want to achieve.

Measurable: Next, you need to determine how you will measure your progress - the latter suggesting that using numbers is often helpful to quantify changes and/or improvement over time.

Attainable: Then determine whether your goal is something that is attainable and realistic to accomplish. Your time, resources, and finances should all be taken into consideration.

Relevant: After, think about whether your goal is something that is relevant to the achievement or area of improvement you are aiming for. If not, you may need to re-evaluate where your goal fits into your values, beliefs, or purpose.

Time-bound: Finally, set a reasonable timeline or deadline to fulfill your goal. By creating a sense of urgency, you are motivated to act and are held accountable.

How do you turn resolution into a S.M.A.R.T goal for success?

Now that you know what S.M.A.R.T goals are, consider this example of how to turn the common New Year's resolution of 'going to the gym' into a S.M.A.R.T goal for success.

I will improve my squat weight from 30kg to 50kg in 3 months' time because my doctor said that improving my strength would help me prevent health problems I am worried about. I will do this by going to the gym and following a strength training program for 45 minutes, at least four days per week.

Remember, be flexible and adaptable!

While the S.M.A.R.T goal-setting framework can help you avoid the common shortfalls of resolutions, if your goal remains unmet by your specified timeframe, don’t be too hard on yourself. Reflect on what hindered your progress, adjust your approach, and consider breaking the goal into even smaller, more manageable S.M.A.R.T goals. Remember that while the S.M.A.R.T goal-setting framework can help you set a single goal at the beginning of the year, it can also be utilised at any point in the year when your time, finances, and resources permit.

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