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The SMART Way to Make Personal Change

Lori Dubuc, ACC, Managing Partner, Infinite Strategies Group, LLC

Have you stuck to your decision to make certain changes in your life? If not, you’re not alone! So maybe it’s time for a new approach! Try looking at personal change with a defined vision in mind.  The more specific you can be, the more clear the vision.  Here’s one option for setting goals for the year ahead using the S-M-A-R-T format. 

Don’t believe that it’s possible?  Let’s take the #1 New Year’s resolution…losing weight…and follow the SMART format:

  • Specific – The more specific the goal, the better you’ll know if it’s realistic or set up to fail.  Set a specific, realistic weight loss goal that you hope to achieve (i.e. lose 10 pounds)
  • Measurable – how will you measure your goal and your success?  For weight loss, perhaps it’s a set time you’ll weigh yourself each week to track your progress
  • Attainable – How will you achieve the goal? You know what you want, now how are you going to get there? For weight loss, you could write down your calories each day and stay within a preset limit
  • Realistic – Does your goal align with who you are and the lifestyle you lead?  A goal to lose 40 pounds in one month, for example, is not realistic!
  • Timely – Attach a time limit to your goal.  It can be as long or short as you need, but it must be time-bound. For example, lose 10 pounds in a 6-month period.

Following the S-M-A-R-T goal format is a great start, but let’s take it a step further. Think about what will keep you motivated to reach this goal.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Tell close friends and family or others in your support network about your goal(s). Let them know what you need them to do to make your goal achievable. Give them permission to keep you accountable

  • Reward yourself.  Identify a suitable reward for making progress toward your goal or for reaching the goal itself. Be sure it’s nothing that sabotages your goal (i.e. like binging on dessert after reaching your weight loss goal!), but something that will motivate you. 

  • Be honest with yourself.  If the goal is too tough, keep the end state in mind, though make adjustments in your steps to get where you hope to be. If a goal isn’t realistic or something happens to impact your goal, then maybe you change the goal a bit.

Any goal is 100% attainable if it’s in alignment with who we are and what we truly desire.  Here’s to hoping that these tips can turn your desires into long-term goals that you can and will achieve.


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