‘Tis the season for New Year’s Resolutions! As you think about yours, consider one of the ways to increase your success is to use the technique of creating “SMART” goals.
“SMART” goals meet the following criteria. They are:
• Specific. It’s easier to meet a goal that is specific than vague. You’re more likely to succeed with a goal to say at least five positive things to your child each day than to “be less angry.” Questions to ask to set these goals include:
o Who’s involved?
o What do I want to accomplish?
o Where will this take place?
o When will I do it?
• Measurable. With the above example, you would be able to track whether or not you met your goal if you were counting for five things. It’s harder to measure “less angry.” Questions to ask to test measurability are:
o How much?
o How many?
o How will I know when I’ve reached my goal?
• Attainable. Make sure the goal you have is something that can be attained. “Our family will be happier this year” is vague and may or may not be a goal you can reach. If there is the death of a grandparent, someone loses their job or gets a bad grade, everyone might not be happy. If your goal is, “I’m going to read at least two books on having a positive attitude, even when things aren’t going how I want them to,” chances are, you can attain that goal—and probably learn something too!
• Realistic. Make sure your goal is something you are willing to work toward and able to work toward. Deciding you want more money to do fun things with your family is fine. A more realistic goal is “I will look at my finances with my spouse and/or a professional this month and decide where we can take money from to start a “family fun” fund.”
• Timely. Everybody has “someday” goals—or wishes. Someday I’m going to be healthier. Someday, I’m going to get a hold of my temper. Timely means changing those to: “This month, I’m going to try three different ways to exercise. By the end of the month, I will choose one I’m willing to do at least four times a week.” And “I will research anger management classes and counselors in my community and decide which is best for me by the end of the month.”
Use these criteria to set your goals for the New Year and watch yourself grow!