So, how are those New Year’s Resolutions coming along? We thought it would be helpful as we get further into January to provide some tips that will not only help you clarify your goals, but will greatly increase your likelihood of meeting them and maintaining them over the long haul. The good news is that these 5 steps can be applied to goals in ALL areas of your life to help you get where you want to go and have the life you want.

1.  Be Specific.
You are more likely to meet a goal when you flesh out the details and make them concrete. If you want to have a better social life, what does that mean to you? For some people, that might mean  spending time with old friends at least once per week…while for other people, it might be defined as identifying a volunteer organization you want to join, and spending 10 hours per week volunteering with a group of people.

2.  Make your goals Measurable.
Measurable goals help make it clear to you whether or not you’ve met them. For instance, if you say you want to be healthier in 2013 and start that process this week, there’s no way to tell whether or not you have “done it.” However, if you say you want to take a step to improve your health in the next week by increasing your intake of vegetables to 4 servings per day, you can keep track of this and know whether or not you achieved your goal.

3.  Make goals Attainable.
Do you have the skills, resources,attitude needed to meet your goal? Is it “doable?” For example, if you want to swim laps this week, have you identified a place where you’d be able to do this? Have you determined ways to do what’s needed to reach the goal and, if not, what needs to be done to get there?

4.  Be Relevant.
Identify what is relevant and important to you, and then figure out reasonable ways to make that into a reality.  Answering the question, “why do I want to accomplish this goal” can be helpful in this.  If you not sure about the answer to that question, then you might want to reconsider that goal.  If you do have an answer, you may be able to decide how important it is (how “relevant”) to you reaching your larger goals.When you identify goals that are most relevant and important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them a reality. You develop the attitudes, abilities, and skills to reach them.

5.  Be Timely.
This one is pretty self explanatory… What is the time frame during which you want to achieve your goal? For instance, you might have the goal of running the NYC marathon in November, and your goal for this week to work towards that November goal might be to run a mile 3 times.

These elements for setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) are a helpful way to break down your overall aspirations for 2013.  What SMART goals can you set for this week?