New Year’s Resolution or SMART Goals: Setting Yourself Up for Success! – Kirby Harley AEP

As the second week of January rolls around, who has already given up on some of those new year resolutions because they were put in the too hard basket? Was this because they weren’t realistic, you didn’t have a plan to achieve them or were they too vague and not specific enough to actually believe that it was achievable? Most of the time, our New Year Goals leave us feeling like we are running a race with no finish line. Did you know that only 19% of people actually achieve their new year’s resolution, with most failing in mid-January? This can be due to a number of factors, but two important elements are: where we fall in the transtheoretical model of behaviour change, and the presence of S.M.A.R.T goals.


The latter factor is what we will discuss this week. Goals are part of every aspect of life and provide a sense of direction, motivation, a clear focus, and clarify importance. By setting goals, you are providing yourself with a target to aim for. A SMART goal is a method utilised to help guide your daily actions to achieve what you set out to achieve. They are used to set process goals (micro goals) in order for you to achieve the end goal (macro goal). SMART is an acronym that stands for:


Specific: Well defined, clear, and unambiguous.

Measurable: With specific criteria that measure your progress toward the goal.

Achievable: Attainable and not impossible to achieve.

Realistic: Within reach, realistic, and relevant to your life purpose.

Timely: With a clearly defined timeline, including a starting date and a target date.


For example, one might want to lose 20kg in 2 months. This is a vague, unachievable and unrealistic goal, which automatically sets you up for failure.


If we use the SMART goal approach, we get a much more realistic and achievable goal.


On January 1, I will obtain a gym membership at my local community centre. In order to be healthier, I will work out four days a week and eat a balanced 80:20 diet. Every week, I will aim to lose one kilogram of body fat. By the end of January, I will have achieved my goal if I lose four kilograms of fat over the course of the month.


If you want to lose 20kg, continue to set monthly SMART goals (micro/process goals) like the above example, in order to achieve your end goal in a timely manner. We thrive on success and if we continue to achieve the micro goals, we are increasing our self-efficacy and confidence in our ability to obtain our end goal.


At Vision Health, our Exercise Physiologists can assist you in setting your goals, as well as providing exercises programs, strategies and coaching to help you achieve and maintain your SMART goals for the new year.