Break Your Resolution – Replace it with a Measurable Goal

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By Tom, on January 25th, 2014

When I make new years resolutions, two or three weeks in I am either discouraged that I haven’t been able to hold myself to them or I am getting pretty tired of them and am ready to break them. If you feel the same, I encourage you to take a different tact on resolutions. They shouldn’t be the vague “I’m going to get fitter” or “I’m going to be more healthy”. In fact, if you actually want to succeed you should make a measurable goal rather than a resolution.

There are hundreds of articles and books written on making and completing measurable goals, so I’m just going to summarize here. The most popular and famous kind of measurable goals are “S.M.A.R.T. Goals”. They state that goals should be:

  • Specific – As in not vague. You need something you can visualize.
  • Measurable – You must have a factor to your goal by which you can measure your progress.
  • Attainable – This and the next one are kind of similar. Attainable is more like you know for a fact that you can accomplish this goal and you know that you can do it in this amount of time…
  • Realistic – …while the realistic part of your goal is that it is not an impossible task. For example you may be able to find a partner that you are attracted to and get along with, but it is probably not a realistic goal that it is Scarlett Johanson or George Clooney.
  • Time-bound – The last, but not at all, least part of making a SMART goal is that it needs a deadline. Or even several deadlines. Maybe you want to save enough money to go on a long European adventure. You would probably want to set a deadline for saving enough to buy your tickets a reasonable amount of time ahead of the trip. But the saving for the stuff you want to do while you’re there can continue until you leave.

Here’s a measurable goal as an example:  ”I’m going to reduce my waist circumference by two inches by June 1. I will do this by going to the gym twice a week and by sticking to the tenants of the slow-carb diet. I will measure my waist at the beginning of this goal and every week at the same time on the same day.”