Are you a ‘new-year-new-me’ type of person? January 1st is the time of year when many people wipe the slate clean and start over.
Are you a ‘new-year-new-me’ type of person? January 1st is the time of year when many people wipe the slate clean and start over. The beginning of a new calendar year seems to be the perfect time to begin again if the previous year hasn’t worked out the way ’we’d hoped. Even if it has, many people just want to give themselves a new challenge for the year ahead – which we definitely get behind! Goals help us to strive for bigger things, keep us motivated and allow us to grow.
Rather than give suggestions on what your goals could be for 2021 (we’ve all been there and read THAT blog), this blog will focus on how you can be clever with your goal setting and make yourself more likely to succeed. There are a few different methods for goal setting. One of the most commonly used methods is the SMART method, where each letter of the word ‘smart’ represents criteria to think about when setting yourself a challenge for personal development. Why? Because goals should be smart. Let’s take you through them now:
S – Specific
Your goal should be specific and clear to ensure you can maintain focus and avoid losing motivation to complete the task halfway through. It is helpful to answer some of the following questions when trying to work out a specific goal:
- What exactly do you want to achieve?
- Why is it important to you?
- Who will be involved?
- Where will you carry it out?
- Which things do you need in order to carry it out and which things are possible barriers to you achieving it?
E.g. I want to be able to run a half-marathon with my wife at the London 2021 fun-run as a steppingstone to advancing my running career.
M – Measured
Your goal should be measured or measurable. This will allow you to track your progress to make sure you are in-line to achieve it as you go along.
E.g. Aim for five solid 10km times in the year leading up to the fun-run
A – Achievable
Your goal must be achievable and realistic. If you set the bar too high, you may set yourself up to fail before you begin. On the flip side, if the bar is too low, you may not feel you are challenging yourself enough and get the satisfaction desired when you reach your goal.
E.g. Is it possible to run five 10km runs before the half-marathon given work and family commitments?
Does this challenge matter to you? If it’s all you can think about, the answer is probably YES. And is it the right time to try and achieve it? If your wife is going to be away on business for three out of the six months leading up to the half-marathon, would it be better to put it off until the following year when workflow is looking like it will be more settled? Make it worthwhile, but make sure the time works for you as well. If pressures start to build up, it may make it difficult to achieve.
You goal should have a date or period of time that you want to have achieved it by. A deadline date can give you focus and something to strive for. As long as it’s a realistic time scale, you’ll be able to achieve your goal without everyday life getting in the way.
How to be smartER
Want to get a bit fancy with your goal setting? Then consider adding ‘Evaluate’ and ‘Re-adjust’. Evaluating or analysing your goals each week or month, particularly for goals with a deadline date a long way off, can help you to stay on track. If you don’t regularly evaluate, you run the risk of falling into the trap of “oh I’ve still got time, I’ll work at that tomorrow instead!”.
If on your journey to achieving your goal you are hitting too many barriers, something may need adjusting and re-adjusting a few times until you hit the ground running (no pun intended).
We’ve given you a running example, but this method of goal setting can be applied to any life goal. It doesn’t have to be fitness related. If you want some help with making sure your goal is SMART, then we’ll be more than happy to help out. We’re all about setting challenges for our patients and then cheering you on every step of the way until you reach them!
About the author:
Dr. Andrew Arnold is a Chiropractor at Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Centre.
- Mind Tools. 2020. SMART goals. How to make your goals achievable. [Online]. Available from: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/smart-goals.htm. [Accessed 09 Nov 2020]