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The SMART Way to Go About Goal Setting for New Year’s Resolutions
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The SMART Way to Go About Goal Setting for New Year’s Resolutions


New Year's Resolution Goals


Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN

As the new year unfolds, many people (possibly even you) may be looking to head on a journey of self-improvement, fueled by the tradition of setting New Year’s resolutions. It may not even be the first New Year’s resolution that you made. The question becomes, how many New Year’s resolutions have you made over the years and totally bailed on? More than likely, you failed at goal setting the SMART way.


Research at Ohio State University has found that only 9% of Americans will actually complete and be successful with their New Year’s resolutions. Furthermore, 23% will quit before they even make it a full week into their resolution. Looking at things through the end of January, more than 43% will have quit. Those statistics are quite shocking. Why is that? Probably because they simply stated what they wanted to do versus goal setting and creating a plan.


Goal setting is a powerful tool that, when mastered, can pave the way for personal growth and success — especially when it comes to your New Year’s resolutions.


But we can’t just talk the talk without walking the walk, so we need to establish what SMART actually is, how you can leverage and utilize it, and everything that goes into creating an attainable goal to hit this year.


In this article, we will explore the art of goal setting and dive deeper into effective strategies for sticking to New Year’s resolutions. Let’s not repeat history where a month after the new year hits, you’ve already thrown in the towel after getting frustrated due to a lack of results. We are going to unlock the secrets to making lasting changes and turning your goals and aspirations into achievements and a reality.


Understanding the Power of Goal Setting


Most people fail on their New Year’s resolutions because they don’t fully grasp just how important goal setting is. They walk into the new year with the desire to lose weight, get in better shape, make more money, or fill in the blank with whatever goal they want.


But without a proper plan of action in place, it’s like walking into a war without a battle plan or even the layout of the battlefield. There’s no way to win. That’s why you need to write down your goals in order to plan out your New Year’s resolutions.


Defining Goals

Goals mean nothing if they aren’t written down and put somewhere that you can see and reflect on them often. Goal setting is not merely about listing aspirations — it involves creating clear, measurable, and attainable objectives.


Whether your goals are focused on personal development, career advancement, or health improvement, the key is to articulate them with precision.


For instance, saying, “I want to lose weight,” is a terrible goal to set for your New Year’s resolution. It leaves the door open for many factors that need to be addressed, such as in what time frame, how many pounds do you want to lose, etc.?


That’s where we toss in the SMART criteria to help with your goal setting and allow you to properly lay out your plan of attack.


The SMART Criteria

To enhance the effectiveness of goal setting, we need to use the SMART criteria:

Specific: Clearly articulate what you want to achieve.

Measurable: Establish tangible criteria to track progress.

Achievable: Set realistic and attainable goals.

Relevant: Align goals with your overall objectives and values.

Time-Bound: Define a timeframe to create a sense of urgency.


By applying the SMART criteria, you can set and tackle your goals with a strategic framework, making them more manageable and achievable.

Peter Drucker was absolutely correct when he said, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” If you can’t implement the SMART criteria, you’ll never truly know if you’re going in the right direction or simply spinning your wheels and wasting time.


Navigating Your Specific New Year’s Resolutions Landscape

No two journeys will be alike — even if you and your friend or family member are looking to achieve the same goal. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to success. 

Your journey may have peaks and valleys, and the other individual may be veering left while you’re taking a hard right. So, you need to be aware that goal setting will set your tone and path, but it’s very individualized. But lean on each other for support.


The Psychology Behind New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions often tap into the psychological phenomenon of a fresh start. The beginning of a new year symbolizes a clean slate, encouraging individuals to reflect on their lives, set intentions for positive change, and allow goal setting to provide them with the structure to be successful.

Understanding this psychology can be crucial in formulating New Year’s resolutions that resonate with your personal aspirations and goals.


Setting Realistic Resolutions

While the enthusiasm of a new year is contagious, and everyone is exhilarated about sharing and starting the New Year’s resolutions, setting realistic resolutions is paramount. Unrealistic goals can lead to frustration and abandonment of resolutions altogether.

Let’s use an example of someone who wants to lose 50 pounds in January. They’re setting themselves up for failure before they even take their first step into the new year. Instead, focus on incremental changes that align with your capabilities and lifestyle. This approach increases the likelihood of being able to stay committed to your goal and not being one of the 43% that won’t continue past January.


5 Strategies for Sticking to New Year’s Resolutions 

If you want to be successful in achieving your New Year’s resolutions this year and have nailed your goal setting structure as laid out above, here are some strategies that can help you achieve success: 

1.     Build Healthy Habits

Healthy habits don’t mean strictly physical health. Healthy habits are anything that is good and positive, such as making better food choices, being able to save money by making your own coffee rather than getting Starbucks every day, etc. 

Habits are powerful drivers of behavior, and by incorporating small, consistent actions into your daily routine, you create a pathway to success. Whether it’s dedicating a specific time each day to work towards your goals or implementing positive habits that reinforce your resolutions, building a routine is key. It may be difficult at first, but over time, it’ll become second nature.


That being said, are you someone who wants to lose weight for your New Year’s resolutions, but you also know it’s easy for you to lose motivation? Check out our article on 10 ways to get motivated to fast-track your goals.


2.     The Buddy System

The journey towards achieving your New Year’s resolutions can be made more enjoyable and sustainable with the support of others. Sharing your resolutions and goal setting with a trusted friend or family member creates a sense of accountability for all parties involved. 

Regular check-ins and mutual encouragement can provide the motivation needed for both of you to stay on track with your New Year’s resolutions, turning individual goals into shared wins.

3.     Learn from Your Setbacks

Recognizing that setbacks are a natural part of any journey is essential. Instead of viewing them as failures, see setbacks as opportunities for learning and growth. The key is to analyze the reasons behind the setback, get to the root cause, and then adjust your approach if needed.

Use all of these experiences (the good and the bad) as a stepping stone toward success. 

4.     Embrace Challenges

If you think that just by goal setting, you’re not going to run into challenges in your journey, you’re mistaken. You’re going to be met with various challenges that will test your will to push forward.

 Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth rather than insurmountable obstacles to derail you can cause you to quit. Challenges are an integral part of the journey toward success, and a positive mindset can turn setbacks into stepping stones.

5.     Celebrate Milestones

It’s good to celebrate your wins every once in a while. Recognizing and celebrating small victories along the way is crucial for maintaining motivation.

Each milestone you achieve toward hitting your New Year’s resolutions is a testament to your progress, reinforcing the belief that your goals are within reach. Take the time to acknowledge your accomplishments and use them as fuel for the next phase of your journey.

For instance, why not celebrate and help improve your health and physique this new year by upgrading your protein powder to MuscleSport Lean Whey? Not only is it loaded with 25g of high-quality whey protein, but you also get a fat-metabolizing matrix of ingredients that help ignite your metabolism and can help you shed stubborn body fat while also supporting muscle growth 

Lean Whey is a win-win when it comes to achieving a healthier and fitter you this new year. And with over 25 mouthwatering flavors to choose from, your taste buds will never get bored.

Start Your Goal Setting Now and Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions This Year 

The art of goal setting and the commitment to New Year’s resolutions are intimately intertwined on the path to growth, success, and personal development. By understanding the power of goal setting, navigating the landscape of New Year’s resolutions, and implementing effective strategies, such as the ones mentioned in this article, you can transform your aspirations into tangible achievements. 

We wish you nothing but the best in the new year and hope you achieve all the goals you set out to accomplish. May your path be marked by purpose, resilience, and the joy of realizing your dreams in the coming year and beyond.

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