Start the Year Off SMART

It’s that time again for making New Year’s resolutions. It’s a time-honored tradition all around the world. We hope for a better future—especially when the year we’re leaving behind has been a tough one. Unfortunately, researchers say about 60 percent of us make annual resolutions, but only about 8 percent are successful in achieving them.

Do you want to know a secret? I never make New Year’s resolutions. Never. Why? Because I think it is important to set goals when it makes sense to; not just because I’ve changed calendars. And rather than announcing, “I resolve to…” I prefer to attach the symbolic acronym of S.M.A.R.T. to every goal I set to help me more easily achieve it (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic/relevant, time-bound).

Instead of setting ambiguous resolutions for 2020, consider setting 1-3 SMART goals—like noted below. Then once you achieve them, set a couple more. The positive accomplishment and momentum will propel even greater success!

Exercise.Walk outside or on a treadmill for 15 minutes, 2x/week. After you’ve had success with this for a month or two, celebrate your accomplishment and then stretch your goal to 20 minutes, 3x/week.
Be more grateful.Before bed every week night, write a list of five things about that day for which you’re grateful. Some days you’ll have exciting things to note, and other days you’ll be jotting down simple joys. When you are feeling blue, read through your entries and reflect.
Bring more inner peace to your life.Don’t judge others. Worry less, especially about those things outside of your control. Smile and laugh more by watching comedy specials over negative nightly news at least 1x/week.
Read more.Start every morning by reading an inspirational quote or a short passage from an uplifting book. This goal not only increases how often you read, but it creates a positive way to start each day.
Learn or try something new.What have you always wanted to do? Play an instrument, scuba dive, rollerblade, connect with friends on Facebook? Commit to try or learning something new by 6/30/20. The possibilities are endless.

Every time my boys visit from Wisconsin, I work hard to think of one new experience that we’ve never tried before and that I think we will thoroughly enjoy. Last week when they spent time in Colorado for the Christmas holiday, we took up dog sledding! The tour was run as a relay, where we rotated between running the dogs, riding in the dogsled, and riding on a small passenger sleigh with the guide. It was an absolutely thrilling way to experience dog sledding and the Rocky Mountains!

Unforgettable fun as we mushed a team of Huskies in the Rockies, with Colorado’s two highest mountains only a couple of miles away!