New Year, New You Using S.M.A.R.T. Plan

  • Celebration balloons

As the current year concludes, many people are reflecting on ways to improve themselves. In many cases, these self-improvements become New Year’s resolutions.

In McLennan County, Cooperative Extension Program’s Balanced Living class participants declared their resolutions and they were similar to most of the popular resolutions: Lose weight, start exercising and saving money.

But as they know all too well, it’s better to be specific to increase the likelihood of success. “New Year’s resolutions can work depending on the individual and their determination. I do think [however] the resolution should be reasonable and something you know is attainable,” Yahaira Favela, a workshop participant explains.

Favela may be on to something.

One of the best ways to make New Year’s resolutions successful is by using the S.M.A.R.T. plan. This acronym can be used for any types of existences. It can assist in deciding if the resolution is reasonable, help design a plan of action for achieving a resolution and aid in working on several decisions concurrently.

S.M.A.R.T. stands for:
Specific: What steps are needed to achieve the resolution? (“Mini” steps can also be created to help stay on track.)
Measurable: What quantifies success or completion of the resolution?
Attainable: Are any resources needed to accomplish the resolution?
Realistic: Is this resolution something I have the ability or desire to fully commit to?
Timeframe: Is there a deadline to complete the resolution?

By using the S.M.A.R.T. plan, general New Year’s resolutions can be made more detailed and can be broken into steps, incremental improvements can be seen and plans can be revised. This may increase the probability of reaching the overall goal. In all, whatever the resolution or the method of achieving it may be, it’s important to plan in advance, expect setbacks and have support system that knows the resolution.

Sources:
Kedem, L. (2012). Get SMART with New Year’s Resolutions. http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/weekly/111227.html
Rivetto, L. (2012) SMART goals make good New Year’s Resolutions. http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/smart_goals_make_good_new_years_resolutions