New Year, new goals - but are they SMART ones?

We know by the endless lines at the gym and the influx of detox social media posts that a new year is upon us. With the strike of midnight, a magic wand waved, a clean slate given. 

Where do you start? Forget about sweeping, unrealistic New Year's Resolutions that set you up for nothing but failure. Set realistic goals. Get real things done.

It would be nice if a crash diet made helped shed the pesky 10 lbs from baby #2 or a new planner meant you never forgot another appointment again. The truth is, you aren't going to change your life overnight and you aren't going to become a different person without a good plan. Let's talk about setting goals that elevate you to a better version of yourself, and gets you some real wins on your way there.

First on your New Year, new you (barf) agenda should be to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. We all love a good to-do list, but to impact real change we need to take a list of goals one step further and make them S.M.A.R.T. ones.  Make sure the goals you set are specific, measurable, achievable relevant, and time-bound. 

Here's an example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal:

By March 2018 I will have created a networking target list of 50 contacts in the social entrepreneurship space by researching my alumni database, LinkedIn groups, and by revisiting my existing first degree network.

Specific: 

In this example, the goal is not just "create a networking list". That's vague and won't keep you accountable.

Achievable:

You want to push yourself a bit here, but not to the point that you never accomplish the goal. Most people fail because they set goals that are impossible to reach, and will give up before they get even close to reaching them. 

Results-focused:

Focusing on the outcome of a goal keeps you accountable. Making sure you have a clear result outline 

TIme-bound:

Defining a clear due date creates the same sense of urgency you needed when procrastinating your college paper writing. Instead of cramming a semester's worth of Shakespeare into one night of marathon writing, be a grown up. Keep yourself on track throughout the time frame you set for yourself.

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You don't need to change your life to make a big impact in it. Start with small goals and get comfortable with the S.M.A.R.T. method. This year, make it your resolution to make better resolutions.