How to Set SMART Goals (for New Year’s and Beyond)

glasses, notebook and a cup of coffee

Today we want to help you set goals for New Year’s and beyond.

Before you write out your goals, do these two very important things:

Find a simple journal, or even just a piece of paper. You’ll need to write down some notes and thoughts to get started. Set aside time for self-reflection. With your journal in hand, spend time reflecting. What do you want out of 2019? And why do you want that? Where are you now? And where do you want to be? Don’t worry about perfect handwriting or grammar; just reflect and write, write and reflect.

Then, you’ll be ready to start setting your goals.

How to Set SMART Goals (for New Year’s and Beyond)

The 5-Day Simpler Better New Year Challenge

After you’ve spent the time self-reflecting, the general concept for a goal (or two) should feel very clear in your mind.

You can use the SMART goal-setting method to get started:

  1. S: Specific.
    Be very specific about your goal. Don’t just make a goal of “eating healthier.” Ask yourself (and answer) things like:
    • Why do I want to accomplish this goal?
    • Why is this goal important to me?
    • Who else is involved with this goal?
    • Where will I achieve this goal?
    • What will I need to reach this goal?
  2. M: Measurable.
    The goal you set should be accompanied by a way for measuring the results. How much? How many? Anything to specifically mark your progress.
  3. A: Achievable.
    All goals should push your limits as far as they can be pushed, but in order for it to be a realistic goal, it must also be achievable. Will you have access to the right resources? Does your schedule allow for it? Are you able to financially support it (if that’s relevant)? Do you have full or most control over achieving the goal?
  4. R: Relevant.
    Is the goal you have your mind set on relevant during this season of life? It might be achievable, but does it make sense right now? Does the goal align with your other life values and mission? Will taking all the necessary steps to achieve the goal help or hinder your life?
  5. T: Time bound.
    Your goal must have an end date. The goal can have an ultimate end date; it can also have mini-goal deadlines along the way (three months, six months, nine months in). In order to accurately measure the goal for success, it must come with a time frame. Time restrictions will force you into action. All goals require diligent action.

Now that you know what goal or goals you’re working towards and you have a SMART plan for achieving them, your only job left to do is act.

5 Ways to Push Through Roadblocks

a man and a woman setting goals with a journal, tablet, cellphones and a laptop

One thing about setting goals that will never change is the desire to quit at some point along the journey.

When you reach that point, remember these 5 ways to push through the roadblocks:

  1. Return to your journal for reflection.
    Why did you choose the goal? What were you hoping to achieve? Why was it the right goal at this very moment?
  2. Remember how far you’ve come.
    Without a doubt, by the time you want to quit, you will have made progress. Review it; where did you start and where do you find yourself today? Let that be your motivation for further progress.
  3. Simplify.
    At Elmhurst, we are all about simpler and better. It’s why our products never contain more than 6 ingredients. Keeping things minimal makes them more desirable. The same goes for your goals. Stick to just 1-3 goals at a time versus several. The more goals you have, the less time you are able to focus on any one of them. Even if you’re an overachiever, less is more.
  4. Find an accountability partner.
    Tell someone about your goal and, if relevant, invite them to join you. No matter what, if and when the going gets tough, you’ll have someone to reach out to for support and accountability.
  5. Change directions.
    If you get lost, you don’t quit. Instead, you get a map out, figure out where you are now and where you need to be, and then change the strategy for getting there. You can do this with your goal as well, if you find that the method for achieving it just isn’t working. There are usually multiple ways to end up at a final destination; giving up is not one of them.

Are you ready to put your goals into action?

Start today!