It’s that time of year, everyone! January brings a plethora of newness; a whole year full of possibilities! Diets are begun, gym memberships renewed, and bad habits ended. Then comes February and all your hard work and planning go out the window. You become overloaded, bogged down, and unenthusiastic about the goals you set. You promise yourself that next year is the year you will lose weight/learn to sew/clean out the closet. But then along comes the following January and guess what? You’re back into the same routine: you set goals and struggle to attain them. I’m going to teach you how to make SMART goals–those which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

So, let’s say you want to get in shape. What would a SMART goal look like?

  1. Specific: A goal of, “ I want to get in shape” is beautiful, but not specific. What does “get in shape” mean? Do you want to lose 10 pounds? Fit into a smaller dress size? Feel and eat healthier? Increase your muscle mass? Your goal must be specific for you to stick with it. It may sound like this: “I want to work out three times a week.”

  2. Measurable: How will you keep track of progress towards your goal? In this instance, keeping a calendar and indicating dates you worked out makes sense. You could also write down every day you work out. Use pen and paper or create a document on your computer. Maybe you’ll get all fancy and create bar graphs and pie charts. The point is that you must be able to measure your goal.

  3. Achievable: Your goal must be something that you can attain. What is your work schedule like? What about your social life? How can you craft your goal so it is achievable? If you have no free time now, a goal of working out three times a week is unattainable. Remember, you want to reach this goal, so keep it real–set yourself up for success.

  4. Relevant: The goal you set must be meaningful to you. Don’t aim to work out three times a week because your friends think you should. Pick something that truly speaks to you. What would improve your life? What habits do you want to stop/begin for a better, more centered you? Think about what you truly desire: if it makes you feel excited, it’s a relevant goal.

  5. Time-Bound: This is by far the most challenging. Set a date you want to achieve this goal by and stick with it! Experience has taught me that working towards a goal for three months is a good start. After that point, you can reevaluate your progress and continue or modify your goal. It may sound like this: “By March 31, 2019, I will have worked out 36 times.” Pick a date, write it down, post it everywhere that you can see: a time-bound goal is a well thought goal.