Another new year is upon us and we all get another fresh start. This time of year, 45% of us set New Year’s Resolutions to help us achieve our goals in the year ahead. So, does this tradition actually work?

While only 8% of those who made resolutions succeed in fully achieving them, people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t make any resolutions at all. So, why not give it a try this year?

The biggest reasons for failure are having too many goals, setting unrealistic goals, not keeping track of progress and forgetting about the goal or losing interest. Every one of these obstacles can be easily overcome if you are truly committed to making a change. So, how should you set your resolution this year?

First, select only one goal. It’s better to identify one thing and focus on achieving it versus picking several and not accomplishing any of them. Change is hard no matter what it is, so just tackle one thing at a time.

The top five resolutions people made in 2015 were to:

  1. Lose Weight
  2. Get Organized
  3. Spend Less/Save More
  4. Enjoy Life
  5. Say Fit and Healthy

One common theme each of these goals shares is that they are grand, over-arching and ambiguous. You will be a lot more successful if you set SMART goals. When setting a SMART goal, simply make sure it is:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

So, instead of “Lose Weight,” set a goal to “Walk 10,000 steps a day and limit your caloric intake to 2,000 calories a day.” If that’s too over-whelming, start with one and then add in the other when you’re ready.

Instead of “Get Organized,” set a goal to “Download priorigami and use it to track tasks and set and complete your top three priorities each day.”

Instead of “Spend Less/Save More,” set a goal to “Limit weekly spending to $200 and save $500 a month.”

In 2016, I wanted to focus on fitness but I was very overwhelmed facing a big huge commitment to exercise so I started by dedicating at least 5 minutes every day to fitness. I wrote down “Five 4 Fit” and hung it up on my bathroom mirror to serve as a daily reminder of my goal. I am happy to say that by starting out small I was able to commit to my goal and now I’m exercising daily as part of my routine.

TRY THIS OUT: If you were to set one resolution for 2017, what would it be? How can you turn that into a SMART goal? Are you up for the challenge? How will you track your progress and reward yourself along the way?

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