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How to have a #SMART New Year

By UALSocial 09 Jan 2020

New Year is a great time to make new promises, but by the end of January they may be hard to stick to.

If you’re looking to be more productive in 2020, we have a few tips to help you in creating (and sticking) to your goals.

Creating a SMART Goal

You may have heard about S.M.A.R.T planning at university or school, but you can use it in everyday life too. 

To get started, we recommend writing down what you want to get out of the new year. It can be anything from wanting to learn to cook, taking up a new hobby or getting ahead in your course.  

Take your initial goal through each of these steps.  


What is your target and what do you want to achieve? Use the questions Who? What? Where? When? To make your goal more specific. 

For example: ‘I want to get fit’ isn’t very specific. ‘I want to do more exercise to help my body get healthier" is a much more specific statement.  


How can you measure your progress? How will you know if you have succeeded? 

For example: ‘Doing more’ exercise isn’t measurable. Instead, I can focus on how many hours of exercise I do a week. ‘I want to increase the amount of exercise I do to 5 hours a week.’ 


Do you have the skills to achieve your goal? Can you break it down into small steps? What can stop you from hitting your target? 

For example, I know I don’t have the skills to start running a marathon or bench pressing 100kg. I can look at the skills I do have, such as yoga and swimming. Or I can find a group that can help me learn new skills, like joining a running group or using the NHS Couch to 5k to get me started. 

I know that money might be an issue, so I need to look for things that are cheap or free like Halls Yoga.


Why do you want to do this? Have you thought about the effort required to succeed, and your level of motivation? What is your reason? 

For example, why do I want to do more exercise? I know that exercise will improve my mood and wellbeing, and I want to use the sports available to me in halls and by the university. I know that starting will be the hardest part for me, so I’ll start with the easiest thing which is Halls Yoga and I’ll ask if one of my friends wants to join. 


What is your deadline? Make a realistic time commitment. 

For example, I can now break down my goal into chunks.  

I’m going to start off with 2 hours a week of yoga by going to Halls Yoga and doing an hour at home. This is my target for January. 

By the end of February I will join a swimming pool and go twice a week, bringing me to 4 hours a week. 

My goal in March is to start the NHS Strength and Flex plan for my weekly activity to achieve 5 hours of exercise a week and maybe more. 

Sticking to your New Year Goal 

  • Put it into writing. Write it somewhere important to you!  

  • Post your goal somewhere visible. The kitchen fridge, your studio space, anywhere it can remind you of your target and how to reach it. 

  • Share your goals with family and friends, they can help you commit to them. 

  • Provide a friend or family with a weekly progress report. This can improve your chance of success by 76%

Congratulations! You're ready for this #SMART New Year. 

If you want to read more about improving your life, check out our articles Is your life in balance? and Finding support that works for you.

Remember, you can email and quote your hall in the subject line to arrange a meeting with your Wellbeing Reps. Remember they are students just like you and are ready to talk. 


UALSocial is fresh, innovative and creative. What’s more, it is completely coordinated by students, which makes it unique, inclusive and empowering for everyone involved. The majority of events are free and the programme pioneers campaigns and community projects across every hall.
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