Make SMART goals this New Year

It’s a new semester! We can’t believe we’re back at school already. This New Year seemed to have appeared out of the blue and if you’re like me, you probably wanted another two weeks to sleep in and enjoy the comforts of home.

It’s a week past the initial New Year, but we still have those pesky New Year’s resolutions tacked up on our Facebook timelines. And if you’re like most people, the resolutions center around getting healthier, trying to lose weight and becoming a happier person overall.

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It’d be great if life worked like this, but posting a status about getting fit or eating better isn’t the only step you need to take to a healthier lifestyle. Get rid of those “resolutions” and start making goals.


Since acronyms make everything easier to remember, start your goal planning with SMART.

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Specific: If you want something done right, you’ve got to be specific. The same goes for making your goals. Be specific about what you want to accomplish, where you’re going to accomplish it, who is involved, when you’ll be done and why you’re doing it.

For example:

What do you want to do? Lose 10 pounds and be able to do five pull-ups. Where will this happen? At the YMCA. Who is involved? My best friend is coming to the gym with me to hold me accountable. When will you be done? Graduation! Why are you doing this? I want to feel better about myself and feel stronger.

Measurable: Measuring your progress is important. If you make a vague goal, there isn’t really any way to measure it for success. When you set a numerical value for your weight loss, like 10 pounds, you can calculate your progress. You need to be able to know when you’ve accomplished your goal.

Attainable: Remember sitting in your elementary school classrooms with those motivational posters on the walls? “You can do it” and “Dare to be different?” Take some advice from Eleanor Roosevelt and “believe in the beauty of your dreams.” When you make goals, only you can realize them. They are your own. When your attitude toward your goals changes and you become motivated, nothing can stop you from attaining them.

Realistic: Getting everything you want isn’t always what you need. Do I need a Lamborghini? No. Do I want one? Yes! Set your goals with reality in mind. What can you achieve in your time-frame realistically? I’m signed up for the Chicago Marathon in October. I realistically have enough time from now until then to reach 26.2 miles as long as I stay on track with my training.

Timely: As with everything, timing is essential. If you’re working 40 hours per week and taking 19 credits, chances are you don’t have enough time during the day for a three-hour workout. Make a schedule for your goal and stay on track. It’s not about spending the most time to reach your goal, but making the most of your time to get there. Sneak in quick workouts, plan for meals the night before and stay on schedule.

Try these SMART goals for a change, Devils, and see how much you can achieve!