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Be S.M.A.R.T. in the New Year of 2022

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

By Jamie Prisco-Rudolph

Edmond Family Counseling

In the weeks leading up to 2022, I started to hear talk around the office about resolutions for the New Year. One of my co-workers set a goal of reading more books while another co-worker decided they wanted to eat more vegetables. Their new goals made me start to think of my own goals for the New Year and areas in my life that I wanted to change for the better.

Some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions include getting healthy, learning a new skill, and saving more money. While most people feel confident in their ability to achieve these goals throughout the year, a study published in an online journal, PloS One (2020), found that during a one year follow up, only 55% of participants felt that they were successful in sticking with their resolutions during the year. Even with the best intentions, setting and completing goals can prove to be difficult.

Whether your upcoming resolutions are simple or complex, there are several steps that you can take to make your goals achievable and manageable. One way of creating achievable goals is to convert basic goals into S.M.A.R.T. goals. The concept of S.M.A.R.T. goals was originally written by Geroge T. Doran, who wanted to make goals for companies more measurable for management teams and their employees. His concept has been generalized for goal setting and helps to break down ideas into 5 steps. For example, let’s say your goal is to eat more healthy foods using the S.M.A.R.T. method.

S - Specific: When creating a goal, this step helps to make it less generic and identifies a specific area or objective. With the goal of eating healthy food, here is where you would specify what types of foods you would like to eat more of, such as fruits and vegetables. You can make this even more specific by selecting which fruits and vegetables you would like to add to your diet more often.

M - Measurable: This step ensures that the goal can be quantified, which helps monitor progress and execution. When choosing to eat healthier, one way of making the goal more measurable would be to distinguish how many days per week you would like to focus on healthy eating habits. This step could also include how you are planning on keeping track of your eating habits, such as a food log or food tracker on your phone.

A - Attainable: This step focuses on breaking the larger goal down into smaller goals that outline the process of completing it. With a large goal of healthy eating, smaller steps could include looking up healthy recipes, creating a grocery list that contains healthy items, and identifying unhealthy foods to cut back on in your diet.

R - Realistic: When goal-setting, this step ensures that the goal is achievable and sustainable over time. If your goal is to eat healthy, an unrealistic goal would be to eat 100 green beans for every meal (that’s A LOT of green beans!). Instead, a more realistic goal would be to eat a cup of green beans as a side dish with lunch and dinner.

T- Time-bound: This final step helps to identify a time frame for the completion of the goal. Saying “I want to eat healthy this year!” sounds great, but saying “I want to eat 1 cup of fruits or vegetables with every meal four times a week for six weeks” is even better! This statement provides a solid time frame for the goal, provides a chance to evaluate your progress, and make any necessary changes to improve your chances of success.

When setting personal goals, it is important to remember that goals should be relevant to our interests and provide motivation for change. By utilizing the five steps of the S.M.A.R.T. goals method, personal goals become more meaningful and manageable. So, the next time you want to make a change for the better, just remember to make that change S.M.A.R.T.!

Jamie Prisco-Rudolph, M.A., LPC-C is a staff therapist and intern coordinator at Edmond Family Counseling. Edmond Family Counseling is a non-profit organization. We may be reached at 405-341-3554 to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed professional counselors. Donations may be made to Edmond Family Counseling, 1251 N. Broadway, Edmond, OK 73034, or online @ www.edmondfamily.org by clicking the YELLOW DONATE button. Follow us on our Facebook Page @ Edmond Family Counseling for additional information regarding mental health awareness.

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