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Be SMART in 2016

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new years resolutions postitsby Courtney Davis, Denton County Extension Agent

It’s the start of a new year and the start of a new set of New Year’s Resolutions.  According to Statistic Brain Research Institute from the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45% of people usually make a New Year’s Resolution, but only 49% of those have infrequent success and a mere 8% actually achieve their goal.

Set S.M.A.R.T. goals this year to help you to be more successful.

The “S” in SMART stands for specific.  A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal.  For example, a general goal might be to exercise more in 2016, while a specific goal would be to get at least 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week.

SMART goals are also measurable.  Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward attaining each goal you set.  When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and are able to celebrate the achievement, which will encourage you even more.  To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as…How much?  How many?  How will I know when it is accomplished?

When you identify goals that are most important to you, you develop the attitudes, abilities, skills and financial means to attain them – hence the A in SMART.  You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps.  Which leads to the “R” – realistic.

To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work.  It may not be realistic for you to lose 50 pounds in one month through diet and exercise, but to lose 50 pounds over the course of a year would be completely feasible (a healthy weight loss is only 1 to 2 pounds per week).  Setting a goal that is unrealistic may frustrate you and convince you to give up too soon.

SMART goals are also Timely. Ground yourself within a certain time frame so that you will not continue to put it off.  To say that you’ll start exercising “someday,” won’t work.  Hold yourself accountable and put a time stamp on it; I will start exercising on January 1, 2016.

Most importantly, don’t become frustrated if you have a setback during the process.  If you have a setback or if you give into temptation, use the next day to start over and don’t give up on yourself.  Here’s to being a better you in 2016.

Courtney Davis is the Denton County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences.  She can be reached at 940-349-2882 or cmdavis@ag.tamu.edu.

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