Welcome to 2022, everyone! If you’re like a large chunk of the population - and by large chunk, I mean nearly half - that make a New Year’s resolution, you have some experience in setting goals.
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Setting Goals the SMART Way

Welcome to 2022, everyone!  If you’re like a large chunk of the population - and by large chunk, I mean nearly half - that make a New Year’s resolution, you have some experience in setting goals.  This also means if you’re like most of the population who set resolutions - and by most, I mean a whopping 80% - you’re likely to give up on these goals by mid-February.  Why set a goal you’re more than likely to give up on a month into the year?

Many individuals give up on their resolution for one reason: they aren’t sure how to set realistic goals!  How many times have you heard someone’s New Year’s resolution is to simply “eat better,” “exercise more,” “rest more,” or “get outside”?  None of these goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, or time-bound - in other words, they don’t fit the requirements for SMART goals.  If your goals aren’t SMART, they are likely not setting you up for success.

SMART, an acronym coined in 1981 to describe a style of goal, is an objective-setting format that is almost sure to increase your chances of achieving your target desire.  SMART goals follow the below rules:

Specific - SMART goals describe a particular end result you want.  They aren’t something general or up for interpretation.  For example, “eat better” is not specific.  “Add more leafy greens to my daily diet” is specific - see the difference between the two?

Measurable - SMART goals have to be able to be objectively determined as complete or not complete.  For example, “exercise more” is not measurable - how do I know when I’ve completed more?  However, “Jog for thirty minutes three times a week” is measurable - if I’ve jogged twice a week I haven’t hit my goal, and if I jog three times a week I have.

Achievable - Here’s an area that causes so many goals to fail!  Your objective should be feasible.  For example, “run a 5K this month” is hardly a feasible goal for someone who has never ran a mile before in their life.  However, “begin to train for a 5K by enrolling in a couch-to-marathon program” is feasible.

Relevant - SMART goals are something important or vital to you and your wellbeing.  If you hate painting, don’t set a goal to paint 12 pictures over the next year.  If you love crocheting, however, setting a goal to crochet 12 blankets is perfectly relevant to you and your goals.

Time-Bound - SMART goals have an end in sight.  For example, “meditate every day” may be a great goal, but it’s not timed.  “Mediate daily for the next month” is timed - by the end of next month, you’ll know if you’ve achieved this goal or not. 

Now you have a clearer idea of how to set a SMART goal, let’s practice!  Let’s say your goal is to start a self-care routine for 2022.  Here’s some examples that may help you in achieving that goal, the SMART way:

“For the next month, I will start each day by journaling about 3 things I am thankful for.”

“I will practice 10 minutes of yoga, three days a week, for the next three months.”

“Over the next two weeks, I will take one 30-minute bath a week.”

Hopefully this blog has helped guide you in setting SMART goals.  This could assist in your resolution for this year, or in any area of your life - for career changes, educational aspirations, relationship conflict, substance use reduction, and more.  For help in setting your SMART goals, reach out to a professional - a therapist!  You can give us a call at (571) 458-1428 or an email at [email protected] to set up an appointment today.  Let me help you achieve your goals this year!

Higher Life Pathways

1800 Diagonal Road, Suite 600 Alexandria, VA 22314

Email: [email protected]

Phone:  (571) 458-1428





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