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Moving Your New Year’s Resolution to a SMARTer Goal


by Sara Croymans, MEd,  Extension Educator,  University of Minnesota Extension and PI for MFLN Family Transitions

It is so hard to believe that we are already well into the second week of January. With the new year comes discussions about setting resolutions to move us closer to an identified goal.  According to the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, the most popular resolutions are to become healthier, personal improvement or happiness, and of course, losing weight. Individuals may experience more success in achieving their resolution if they frame it as a SMART Goal.


Using a SMART Goal can help you plan, implement, and measure the progress of your activities. SMART Goals have several critical criteria:

S- Specific- Make sure your goal is specific to what you want to achieve. As needed, include dates, resources, dollar amounts, and other specifics related to your goal.

M- Measurable- How will you measure your progress and determine if you have achieved your goal?  You might measure your goal by dates, finances, pounds, time, etc.

A- Achievable- What can you do to make your goal attainable? Make a plan for how you will work to achieve your goal.

R- Realistic- Ask yourself if the goal can realistically be achieved? Are you confident that you will be able to reach the goal? Make the goal challenging, yet achievable. Larger goals may need to be broken into several smaller goals to make them realistic.

T- Timely- Determine when you will start and end your goal. Making a timeline can help you break down the goal into smaller steps and can help provide motivation to accomplish the goal.

Maintaining Success

Once a goal has been achieved, it may be difficult to maintain a level of success. The National Health Institute suggests that individuals who monitor their behavior or progress closely may be more successful in sustaining success. Monitoring could be in the form of a daily journal or diary or simply recording numbers (weight, calories, money spent, etc.) on a calendar.

Good luck with your New Year’s SMART Goals!

This blog post was written by Sara Croymans, MEd, AFC, University of Minnesota Extension Educator, member of the MFLN Family Transitions team, military spouse and mother. Family Transitions provides education, resources and networking opportunities for professionals working with military families to build resilience and navigate life cycle transitions. Engage with the MFLN Family Transitions team on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.

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The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

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