SMART Goals: The Best Way to Start a New Habit

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Have you ever heard of SMART goals? SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely. All your goals should be SMART!

But let’s break down SMART goals.

Be Specific

When you want to add in a new habit to your life, then you need to plan your goals to be very specific. First off, what is your new habit?

My new habit for 2021 is reading. But reading itself isn’t a very specific goal. I made my goal specific by adding a quantity to the amount of books I will read in 2021 – which is 40. 40 books for 2021. Now my goal is very specific.

Measure

I use Goodreads to measure the amount of reading I’ve been incorporating into my life. You can add me here! Goodreads is a tool that allows you to track what you are currently reading, by page or percentage, and when you finish a book. At the time of this post I’ve already read 34 out of my 40 book goal.

I’ve also been tracking the books I’ve been reading in quarterly posts to keep myself accountable:

What type of tool can you use to help track your habit? A journal, an app or even post its? Anything that can get you started today is good – you want to keep your momentum going!

Attainable

You want to make your new habit stick, right? Then your goal has to be challenging, but attainable in the long run. In January, I thought 40 books was going to be too many for me to complete. I turned that negative mindset around by telling myself that 40 is less than 50, so it was more attainable!

Relevant

This is the part where you get real with yourself about your goals. You need to ensure that what you’re trying to achieve is worthwhile to you.

I wrote a post about why reading is important to me and why it is one of my goals for 2021. Writing this helped me regain my vision of why I picked reading to be one of my new habits this year.

Timely

Every goal needs a target date. A goal without a plan is just a wish, after all! I set my reading goal to happen within one year. And that may be too long for you. If you’re looking to lose X amount of pounds before your winter vacation, then you need to pick the date you’re leaving as your target date. Then your plan will work backwards from the target date to add in when you’ll be getting in your workouts.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the simple way to apply this strategy to begin a habit is to fill out this sentence: I will [behavior] at [time] in [location].

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