Tuesday, December 26, 2017


Jesse Fulbright, MSU Liberty County Extension

During the lull between Christmas and New Year’s, how many of you are thinking of resolutions or ways to improve?  I suspect that it is almost second nature to many of us.  I hope that after today all of us be a little bit more successful in attaining goals no matter the time of year.

When looking at setting a resolution, remember to make it SMART.  Make it Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.  What exactly does your resolution accomplish?  Why do I want to accomplish this?  Think about your resolution.  In terms of measuring it, how will you know if you’ve succeeded?  What are the steps you need to take each day/week/month to achieve the goal?  Do you have the resources to accomplish this goal?  Will the steps you have planned help you attain the goal?  Is your goal relevant?  Can you commit to this goal?  Will you not be able to reach another goal or do something else you want to do because you are working towards this goal?  Last, what is the time limit for your resolution?  Maybe your goal is something that will take longer and be of a larger perspective, or perhaps it is a short-term goal. 
Setting SMART goals can help you decide if the goal is a good fit for you as it is, or if you need to revise it to ensure success.  It is often best to start with the “time-bound,” “specific” and “measurable” and then review them for being “attainable” and “relevant.”  An example of a goal that isn’t quite SMART would be, “I want to take a trip to Europe in October for my birthday.”  Not quite effective, right?  The same goal, after being put through the SMART process by an individual, might look like this:

Specific – I want to take a two-week trip to Ireland with my family for my birthday in October of 2018.  Measurable – I need to save $4,000 to cover flight costs, lodging, transportation and miscellaneous costs based on my research.  Time-bound – October is 10 months away.  That means I need to save $444 a month until October to have my $4000 set aside to cover costs.  Attainable – $444 is a lot of money a month for me to set aside when I also am saving for a car.  Relevant – I am not sure I can commit to this goal.  It might set me back from getting my car; perhaps I should plan for a different trip.  Having decided this goal is too much at this time, the process can be repeated; this time, the new goal could be to take a trip to a Seattle for five days and save a considerable amount of money.

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