Live well

Get SMART for 2015
Stephanie Howes

By Stephanie Howes

Make 2015 your year to get smart. Or should I say, SMART.

An acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timed, SMART is a performance management criteria used to describe goals and objectives. The idea is that SMART goals are much easier to understand, achieve and complete. In other words, people who set SMART goals have a much greater likelihood of success

For example, if you have a goal to lose weight in 2015, you could feasibly spend the entire year doing nothing, and then drop half a pound in the last week of December and achieve your goal, as poor and petty as it may be.

By contrast, a SMART goal may be to lose 10 pounds by March 30 because it’s specific (10 pounds), measurable (scale), achievable (experts agree a loss of one to two pounds a week is generally acceptable), relevant (ensure you actually do need to lose weight), and timed (Jan. 1 to March 30).

So why the focus on SMART goals? Because they work much better than the usually ill-fated new year’s resolutions. According to the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology, losing weight is our number-one new year’s resolution, likely the result of too many shortbread cookies and Nanaimo bars over the holidays.  It’s followed by getting organized, spending less money and enjoying life to the fullest.

Tellingly, dedicating more hours to family finishes in a dismal 10th place, after falling in love and helping others realize their dreams.

And now the worse news: Only eight per cent of the people who make these new year’s resolutions will actually achieve them.

So my advice, if you are inclined to make a new year’s resolution, is to set a SMART goal instead.