New Year's Resolutions: Setting SMARTer Goals

a21c4e5634f80a3c3a380327ba96b850 I have a love/hate relationship with New Year Resolutions. I absolutely love the enthusiasm people have when they start out with their resolution. Regardless of their goal; workout more, lose weight, quit smoking, save money or to be more charitable, everyone is incredibly excited about how their life will change. What I dislike about these resolutions is that they are often a far-fetched pipe-dream, instead of a reasonable goal that they can actually reach.  And, according to an article I read last year, only 8% of people actually achieved their goal.

New Year Resolutions fail for a number of reasons, but I’m here to give you some strategies so you will succeed this year.


Don't set a resolution, set goals and review them periodically.  If you don't have any goals right now, get started today!


Make a SMART goal. You may have heard this before, but SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable & Timely


  • Specific: What exactly do you want to accomplish?  Who, What, Where, Why, etc?
  • Measurable: “I want to feel better" is a great goal, but it is not very measurable. How will you actually know if you have achieved it? I want to fit in my old pair of jeans or be able to run a 1/2 mile without stopping are better goals.
  • Achievable: Ok, so let’s be honest; the chances of you being able to win the Chicago Marathon isn't the most realistic goal.  Now being able to finish the Chicago Marathon is actually quite doable with a lot of hard work and a proper training program.
  • Realistic: I want to lose 10lbs every week is a realistic goal if you are on The Biggest Loser with a personal chef, a full support staff and round the clock exercising. However, If you actually have to go to work everyday, you have a family and have to do most of your own meal preparation. Maybe shoot for something more realistic to your situation like 1-2 lbs a week.
  • Time Based: Your goal should have a time component to it. Research whatever your goal is to see what is realistic for your situation and add a time component. “I want to drop 1 jean size in the next 8 weeks.” You are more likely to succeed and will have a better measure and more accountability during the process.

Get resources to help you achieve your goal. If you want to get in shape, enlist a friend of family member to go to the gym with you or hire a personal trainer to help keep you accountable. If you want to lose weight, get rid of any temptations in your house and replace them with healthy alternatives. Join a running club if you want to run your first 5K or ½ marathon.


Don’t give up. You may hit a speed bump or two along the way. You get sick and don’t work out for 2 weeks, or you had friends in town and ate at all the iconic Chicago restaurants and enjoyed pizza, ribs, steak, hot dogs & beer, etc. for three days straight. Just remember you aren’t trying for perfection, you’re aiming for progress. If you slip up, no big deal, just don’t spiral out of control and give up on your resolution.

Happy Holidays! Alex

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