Goal Setting for 2019 – Are You Being SMART About It?

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Now that 2019 is officially here, I wanted to share an article to help YOU achieve those New Year’s resolutions. Goal-setting is THE starting point if you want to cultivate a lifestyle change, and there are some key things to consider when setting your goals. These are applicable to any and all areas of your life – exercise, dietary habits, improving sleep, managing stress – and all are equally important. So without further ado, let’s look at how you can set S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2019, and make achieving them part of a healthy balanced lifestyle you enjoy – not a chore you dread!

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S – Sustainable

I love this word. A big pet peeve of mine on social media is the concept of a ‘quick fix’ for living a healthier life – because there is no such thing. No matter what your goal is – getting more active, eating more fruits and vegetables, reducing your screen time – it has to be sustainable. What we mean by that word is that it has to be a change that you will stick to for life, not just for two weeks. Key to sustainability is enjoyment – if you have fun making something a habit, it won’t be a chore you dread, but a lifestyle change you embrace for the future.

M – Measurable

We must define our goals very clearly when setting them. Being vague about an intention gets us nowhere – for example ‘eating healthier’, ‘getting fit’, ‘sleeping better’ – none of these things define what exactly your goal is. Sure, the overall desire might be one of the above, but the goal itself, in the short term, has to be clear and oriented towards this bigger picture. For example, if you want to ‘get fit’, what sort of activity are you going to start? Walking, running, swimming, yoga, weight training – or maybe a combination? Either way, make sure you label the goal, such as planning out time in your day for WHEN you’ll do that walk or trip to the gym, and how many days per week you’ll do it. By measuring what we plan to do in advance, we can track our progress accurately.

A – Achievable

Goals have to be feasibly within our reach before we start working on achieving them. I’ll use myself as an example – I love to run, but if I turned around tomorrow and decided to run the Dublin marathon, that would 100% NOT be achievable. It would require structured training over a long period of time – not an 8km run this week and a marathon the next. Achieving our goals, however big or small they are, is such an amazing feeling, and it’s a shame to deny yourself that joy simply because you let your ambition confuse your reality. If you only have 30 minutes 4 days of the working week to get your exercise in, that’s what’s achievable for you. So focus on what’s within reach, and be darn proud when you get there!

R – Realistic

What’s your reality? What does your day to day look like – work, college, hobbies, friends, family – where does it all fit in? What resources do you have available to you that will allow you to work on your goals? Finally, what resources do you need to put into this reality to help you achieve them? These are all brilliant questions to ask yourself when goal-setting smartly. For example, let’s say you want to cook dinner from scratch 3 nights this week. Do you have the ingredients and recipes planned out? Do you have the right equipment to do the cooking? If not, that’s where you make some changes (do the shopping, write the recipes down) so that your reality makes your goals feasible.

T – Time Bound

Finally, and importantly, we must set ourselves a time frame. Not a deadline – setting and achieving goals isn’t something we should view as a task or chore. It’s a positive change we’re making to our lives. But to monitor our progress, and reflect on how we’re doing on this journey, we need to track. Setting a time frame puts gentle pressure on us to do so. For example, if you’re aiming to start running to get more active, why not set a date for your first 5km with a friend? Or if you’re keen to cook more at home, set a one week challenge to make 3 meals from scratch. Then, review how you did! Did you achieve the goal? If not, that’s 100% A-okay! Review what held you back, and that’s what you can work on to bring your goals forward.

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Finally – as I always say, the focus should always be on progress, not perfection. I would love to hear YOUR goals for 2019! And I hope this post was helpful guys – let me know! Leave a comment, pop me a DM, or email! You know where to find me – I’m @theirishbalance on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook!

Ciara 🙂 x

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