The New Year will soon be upon us and if you are like the vast majority of people you will already be thinking about the resolutions you want to set for 2018. Resolutions are simply another word for goals and whether you want to make changes in your health, fitness, career or personal life, ensuring your goals are SMART can ensure you have a greater chance of success.

If you haven’t heard of the SMART acronym before it’s just a way to help you set your goals so you clearly know where you are heading. S.M.A.R.T. stands for: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound and it’s important to work through these five key areas when you are setting any goal, large or small.

Let’s dive deeper into each section:

Specific

Goals which are written down and reviewed regularly have a much higher success rate. It’s also important to dig deep into the goal and not just make it a broad stroke aim. For example, if losing weight is your overall desire you will get much further if you decide how many pounds you would like to drop and by what date. The same is true with business goals, if you want to earn more money in 2017 be specific about exactly how much.

Measurable

By being specific we now have goals which are measurable. If your goal is to lose 10 pounds by the end of February for example, you will know if you achieve that or not. If you have a very large goal it can be helpful to break this down into a series of mini goals so you can celebrate each step along the way and know you are heading in the right direction.

Achievable

Make sure you are setting yourself up for success and not for failure. Sometimes with resolutions we try to aim too high, too soon. If your goal is to get more exercise in 2017 and you are relatively new to fitness it is better to set a goal of going to the gym or swimming 2 to 3 times per week, rather than saying you will go every day and then give up by the 3rd January. Slow and steady wins the race as long as you are consistent.

Relevant

It’s important to set goals meaningful for you, rather than setting them just for the sake of a New Year rolling round. Make sure your goals will move you forward and when achieved are going to make a substantial difference to your quality of life. It can also be wise to only work on one or two big goals at a time. Be choosy and don’t write a list of dozens of resolutions, instead hone in on a key one for you. Once you have achieved that you can set another goal.

Time-Bound

We mentioned this briefly earlier but it’s worth reiterating. You won’t know whether you have achieved your goal unless there is a date set for its completion. Always put a date on your goals otherwise you have nothing to drive you forward and give you a sense of urgency.

As a final point, remember the importance of consistency when it comes to achieving your goals. Even if you fall off the wagon a few times, get back up and carry on. No-one’s path to achieving anything is ever a direct line, but as long as you don’t stop trying you can’t fail.