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  • Lee Lovett III, LMSW & Pamela Newman, LCSW-C

How To Make a SMART Goal in 2021

Goals can take many forms. However, they are oftentimes very difficult to achieve. It’s important to remember that a New Year’s resolution is a goal, and we need to treat it as such.

2020 was an interesting year to say the least. It’s helpful to review the year and look at your successes. No matter how small. What lessons can be learned? What can you apply to the New Year? Perhaps your goals will be built from 2020 lessons, or perhaps they will be entirely new. Is there a new hobby that you’ve wanted to explore? Something new you want to try? What do you wish to be different? After your 2020 reflection and review, and before you write your goal down, you want to make sure that it’s SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.


Tips to make your SMART goal stick:


Specific: Details matter. Ask yourself: Why, What, When, Where and How?

Measurable: Think about numbers like how much, how often, how many? How will I know the goal is achieved? Determine ways to track your progress throughout

Achievable: Set sub-goals and break a big goal down into small steps. Once you have successes, then move on to the next step. Anticipate hurdles – what’s difficult about this goal of yours? What barriers would hinder your success?

Relevant: What makes this worthwhile to me? Is this in line with my other personal goals? How committed am I to this goal?

Timely: By when? Set the start date and end date and put them in your calendar or set a reminder in your phone. Make sure to give yourself an appropriate amount of time to complete the goal.

Sometimes we plan goals in our head but we never realize them because they aren’t written down. We don’t remind ourselves of our goals. Holding ourselves accountable in this way is important. We can also hold ourselves accountable by letting a close friend or family member in, bonding with them through discussing each other’s aspirations. These types of open, raw conversations pave the way for intimate connection. Odds are that whatever goal you set, someone has achieved it or is going through similar struggles to you as they participate in their journey.

Set yourself up for success and aim to make your goal a habit! What’s a positive habit that you already have? You can link that habit with your SMART goal. If you stumble, that’s ok! Determine how to get started again and keep moving forward!

Here’s to a healthy, joyful 2021! We live in uncertain times, where negativity often runs rampant. Luckily, we are the authors in our own stories and have the power to make changes every day. Discovering that empowerment through SMART goals is incredibly liberating. You’ve got this!


#PRN #Psychotherapy

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North Bethesda, MD 20852 

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