Welcome to 2018! Are you already tackling your New Year’s resolution? No matter what your goal may be, whether it is related to weight loss, personal finance or career, it is best to make sure that it is SMART. 

A SMART goal is one that follows these guidelines and answers these questions: 

Specific: Exactly what would you like to accomplish? Measurable: How much, or how many? Attainable: Can it actually be done?  Relevant: Why is it important to you? Time bound: How [much time] will you [need to achieve it]? 

To just state that a goal, or resolution, of yours is to save money does not give any structure to your goal. There is no way to track your progress or hold yourself accountable. Making your goal SMART will do just that.

An example of a SMART goal may be, "I will save $500 in the next year, so I can join the fitness gym, by making an automatic deposit to my savings account and bringing my lunch to work instead of buying fast food." 

Here is an example of that goal with the SMART breakdown: 

Specific: Exactly what would you like to accomplish? To join a fitness gym Measurable: How much, or how many? $500 Attainable: Can it actually be done? Must answer based upon income, debts and ability to prepare lunches Relevant: Why is it important to you? Value of personal health Time bound: How will you know you have completed goal? One year 

Accomplishing a goal is no simple task; often it takes a lot of time, energy and work. Don’t get frustrated if you make a mistake or aren’t doing as well as you would like. Give yourself permission to adjust your goal if needed. What may be working for you now may not work for you in six months. 

It can also be very helpful to write down your goals and put them in a prominent place that you look at every day, like the mirror or the fridge. That will help keep the goal fresh and keep your motivation strong.

Check out our University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Okaloosa County Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/UFIFASOkaloosaExtension/, to check out my personal SMART goal video for 2018.

For more information, contact me at 689-5850 or jbreslawski@ufl.edu.

Jill Breslawski is an agent at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension office in Crestview.