By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Happy New Year all, and welcome to 2021.
This time of year is renowned for setting new goals and resolutions in an attempt to improve our lives for the better.
Many promise themselves to exercise more often, drink less alcohol, spend more time with loved ones, and be all-round happier people.
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While setting goals is a great start, many find themselves back to their old habits much faster than anticipated.
That’s why it’s important to set SMART goals; specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.
Goals should be clear, concise, and tracked in a journal.
They should be challenging yet achievable, with the ability to build on from once attained.
When goals are relevant to our overall life plan, a greater importance and emotion is placed upon achieving the target.
There should also be an end time attached to the goal, where we can reflect on progress made, and a new goal can be set.
It's best to start with a smaller short-term goal such as changing one specific behaviour for one week; once achieved, the goal can be reviewed and extended.
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This way we don’t become daunted by a huge goal that we feel too intimated to tackle.
A SMART goal to exercise more might be walking three times a week.
Specifics are important so the goal would be as detailed as possible; walk Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6.30am for half an hour.
Once achieved, the goal could be continued as is, or adapted to become more challenging; extending the walk from a half hour to an hour or incorporating a fourth day might be an option.
When the goal is specific, supports can be put in place to assist achieving that goal.
For example, you would make sure an alarm is set and your walking shoes and comfortable clothes have been laid out the night before.
You might also make sure breakfast or work lunches have been prepared to avoid a rush in the morning.
Always review your success; identify any barriers and ways you might overcome them, and also note down things that help you achieve your goals, such as having a walking partner, and how you could incorporate positive enablers more often.
You could even add an additional goal, such as packing your own lunch every day to take to work; both cost effective and time efficient!
Whatever your New Year’s resolution might be, make sure you plan for success the SMART way.