As with every new year, you finally decided it’s time to change, to ditch your bad habits, to start eating healthy, to get fit, to delve into more passion projects.

Let’s be honest for a moment though; how many of those goals have you actually achieved over the past years? Not many? Well, most of us don’t stick to their resolutions to the end, so you’re not alone.

“Why?”, you may ask?

Because resolutions and goals without a plan won’t get you anywhere, no matter how easy they may seem.

So, what’s the solution? Simple, you have to make SMART goals and set a strategy, one that covers all the nitty gritty of your resolutions.

What Are Smart Goals, Anyway?

Smart goals are what will turn your resolutions into reality. They give you direction and make it easy for you to know whether you’re getting closer to your objective or just wasting your time. To make sure that your goals are indeed smart ones, they must meet certain criteria, and they have to be: measurable, specific, achievable, relevant, time-sensitive, and they must be your own goals.

Your Smart Goals Must Be Your Own Smart Goals

Turning resolutions and goals into reality requires tremendous efforts. The journey is tough, and it’s full of elbow grease that you wouldn’t be able to take on if you don’t really believe in your objectives. Striving isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s why you need to work towards goals that you’re passionate about, not ones that your mom or spouse want you to achieve.

Your Smart Goals Must Be Measurable

You must be able to measure your progress if you want to push yourself even further. Break your goal into small steps or chunks that you can tick out of your checklist, then work on achieving them one by one. If you want to lose 4 pounds over the next month, it means that you have to get rid of one pound per week.

Your Smart Goals Must Be Specific

Remember, the devil’s in the details, and there’s a vast difference between “I want to get fit” and “I’d like to be able to do 10 pull-ups in a row” or “I’d like to lose 10 pounds over the next 2 months”. You have to be specific if you are serious about your goals, as “getting fit” is too vague of an objective. Once you get down to the nitty-gritty of each goal, start looking for the potential challenges that you may face along the way, and determine how you can overpass them if they arise.

Your Smart Goals Must Be Achievable

You have to be realistic when setting your goals. Don’t just resolve to do everything you “want” to achieve. Instead, opt for goals that you both “want” and “can” achieve. You need to put everything into consideration. Are you physically capable of achieving your goal? Do you have the necessary tools to do it? Does your schedule allow it? Etc. If a goal seems too hard to reach, no worries, just move on to the next. Remember, it’s nice to challenge yourself, but it’s important to be realistic if you don’t want to end up burning out on the first steps.

Your Smart Goals Must Be Relevant

For your goals to be really smart, they have to fit with the overall plan for yourself. Sure, everybody wants to learn how to play the guitar, but if you already have plenty of hobbies, you’re better off spending your extra energy elsewhere. Furthermore, your goals must be justifiable. For instance, going on weekly dates with your wife just to eat outside won’t benefit you in the long run, but doing it for the sake of strengthening your relationship can be greatly beneficial.

Your Smart Goals Must Be Time-Sensitive

Have you tried working without a specific deadline before? Let us tell you, no matter how appealing it may seem; it’s actually quite unproductive. If you really want to achieve your goals, you need a finish line. Sit down, gulp down a cup of coffee or a can of your favorite energy drink, create a proper plan for your goals, one that you can break down to daily activities, then set a deadline that you cannot miss.

Calculate all the involved variables. For how many hours do you need to work out each week to lose 10 pounds in a month? How many calories should you consume on a daily basis? How many cans of your energy drink do you need before each training session?

Where Can You Apply the Smart Goal Mindset?

Smart goals can be set in seven major areas of your life, which are:

  • Fitness Goals: Ditch the elevator for the stairs, hit the gym more frequently, pump your workouts with the right pre-workout, learn how to exercise correctly.
  • Financial Goals: Get out of debt, pay your student loan, save for retirement, budget your income adequately.
  • Career Goals: Learn more about your line of work, network with more people, work towards a raise or promotion.
  • Educational Goals: Finish your degree, read more books each month.
  • Family Goals: Call your parents more often, have more dates with your spouse, spend more time with your kids.
  • Spiritual Goals: Start a daily journey, do something good every day, donate for local charities.
  • Social Goals: Attend social events more often, learn to say no more frequently.

What’s Next?

The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, and when it comes to achieving goals, the first step is to write them down. Don’t just type them; you need to get a big piece of paper and write down the break down of each goal you want to achieve, with the full timeline and all the steps needed to get the desired results. Then, take that piece of paper and hang it somewhere that you can see every day so that you can hold yourself accountable.

Final Thoughts

Life can be challenging and tough, but you’re tough as well, and you can surely achieve all your goals if you think reasonable and work hard enough. What are you waiting for? it’s time to start planning your goals!