You were going to lose ten pounds. Spend at least 45 minutes on the treadmill. Eat 3 healthy meals a day, packed with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables? Sound familiar?

Three months have passed, and your New Year’s resolutions are calling to you. Why not take the time right now to evaluate how you’re doing. Did you make a little progress? None at all? Can you even remember your resolutions?

If your resolutions are truly a thing of the past, why not write new ones, and this time, use the SMART method of goal-settling. It’s easy to do and will bring positive results. Let’s get started.

S. SPECIFIC. Be sure your goals are specific. “I want to eat healthier meals” is not specific. “I will eat three servings of salad and five servings of fruit a week, and eliminate sugary drinks from my diet” is specific.

M. MEASURABLE. “I want be thinner” is not measurable. Instead, replace it with, “I want to lose twenty pounds.” This is something you can measure, the scales don’t lie. Either you lose twenty pounds or you don’t.

A. ATTAINABLE. “I want to take the family to Hawaii for two weeks and stay at a five star hotel” may not be attainable if you’re on a tight budget. A more attainable goal might be a week-long stay in a Myrtle Beach condo.

R. REALISTIC. “I want a 6 figure salary in finance even though I’m terrible with numbers and I don’t even have a GED.” This is unrealistic. A more realistic goal might be to return to school, get a college degree and work in the banking industry.

T. TIME-BASED. The difference between a “dream” and a “goal"” is that a goal has a deadline. “I want to write a best-selling novel," is not time-based. “I will write 1,000 words a day until I complete a full-length novel in three months” is.

With the SMART method, all your goals can be realized!

Dr. Mary Kennedy is a licensed psychologist in private practice in the northeast, and a mystery novelist. Visit her at www.marykennedy.net

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