Start the year off right with S.M.A.R.T. goals!

Whether your goals are personal or professional, you are more likely to achieve them if you make them specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

Have you made a New Year’s resolution? If you haven’t already, it is not too late. Michigan State University Extension can provide the tools you need to reach your goals. Many popular resolutions include losing weight, eating healthy, exercising more, saving money, reducing debt, getting a new job, becoming more “green” or going back to school. These are all worthwhile goals, but none of them are considered S.M.A.R.T.   Whether your goals are personal or professional, you are more likely to achieve them if you make them S.M.A.R.T. The S.M.A.R.T acronym stands for the five steps in developing goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.  

  • Specific: Define your goal. Is it focused? Will someone else be involved? Where will it take place? Provide as many details as possible.
  • Measurable: How much change is needed to achieve the goal? How do you define success? Try to quantify your goal. For instance, how much weight do you want to lose or how much money do you want to save?
  • Attainable: What are the action steps to attain the goal? What resources or tools are needed? Is this goal within your reach? Is it realistic?
  • Relevant: Is the goal important to you? Are you committed to achieving it? Are you willing to dedicate time and energy to reaching this goal? Does the goal have meaning to you?
  • Time-bound: When does your goal start and end? What is your time frame for achieving the goal? Is this considered a short, intermediate or long term goal?     

Sticking to your goals is not always easy. Just ask people in February how they are doing in keeping their New Year’s resolution and you will find many goals unfulfilled. Here are just a few additional tips to keep you on track for reaching your goals.

  • Put your goals in writing. This will increase your commitment.
  • Post your goal where you will see it often. This will serve as a reminder.
  • Share your goals with friends and family. They can provide support and encouragement for reaching your goals.
  • Celebrate small successes. Keep yourself motivated by recognizing your achievements.  
  • Evaluate your progress. Periodically, take a moment to assess your goals. Are you on target? Does the goal need to be modified?

MSU Extension can help bring your goals to life by delivering research and education locally. Don’t delay. Make a S.M.A.R.T. goal today!

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