New Year, New You!

How to set realistic goals and stick to your game plan

It’s convenient to sync a new plan with a new year. But, before blindly hopping on the resolutions bandwagon, keep the tried and true SMART plan top of mind for making and keeping your goal.

Specific. Is the goal crystal clear? Making it explicit is the “difference between a wish and a goal,” says Tanya Geisler, a Toronto-based certified business and life coach. “Be passionate about what you want,” adds Lynne Smith, a certified business coach and master life coach in Dartmouth, N.S. Since your words and thoughts can be limiting, even damaging, Smith encourages the use of positive, empowering words. “Say, ’I now have…’ or ’I am…’ or ‘I want...,’” stresses Smith.

Measurable. Will you know if progress is being made, and when the goal’s been reached? “Visualize yourself as already having achieved the goal and make it as detailed as possible,” Smith says. Having a measurable goal provides a benchmark from which progress can be tracked. Geisler says, “It can answer questions, like: ’How much?’ and ’By when?’”

Attainable. Is the SMART goal realistic and within reach? How are you going to make it happen? “A personal coach or a friend can be a huge support in getting you to your goals,” suggests Geisler.   

Resonant. Is the goal right for you? Does it honour your values and is it going to be fun?”  asks Geisler. Regularly picture yourself reaching your goal. “We call this ‘keeping your attention on your intention,’” says Smith.    

Thrilling. Do what Geisler calls “a gut check.” Do you feel butterflies in  the pit of your stomach? Is your goal a little scary? If not, then it’s likely not thrilling for you.

“Smart goals will challenge and stretch you. They may be unpleasant at times, but the overall resonance will keep it alive and well. And better yet – achieved,” says Geisler.

In the details
Need a kick-start? Get Everything Counts: 52 Remarkable Ways to Inspire Excellence and Drive Results by Gary Ryan Blair, a Florida-based business coach and president of The GoalsGuy. “Life will not go according to plan, if you do not have a plan,” writes Blair. His engaging text and “Call to Action” in each chapter encourage you to “sweat the small stuff” (yes, you read that right) and to understand that every thought, word and action either moves you toward—or away from—your goals.

By Jennifer D. Foster

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