If the statistics around New Years Resolutions depress you — less than 8 percent of people keep theirs — SMART goals are, well, a smarter way to work towards self-improvement. The goal-setting technique was featured in both the New York Times and Quarttz in December, but it's been around for a while.
SMART, if you're not familiar, stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Instead of an abstract goal like "get healthier" or "be more productive", SMART goals give you more specific ways to work towards what you want.
This January, a number of Houston companies are offering SMART-inspired challenges for the new year. From juice cleanses to cleaning the crud out of your life, here are some of the ways in which you can work SMARTer, not harder, in 2018.
Go juicy for one a week
Houston-based juice company Squeezed is starting off the New Year with a 7-day juice cleanse, beginning on January 2. The cleanse is social media-based, complete with a Facebook support group, and finishers receive a free t-shirt plus a chance to win other prizes, in addition to the benefits of juicing itself.
"A juice cleanse is such a great way to start the new year," says Rebekah Singleton, Squeezed Houston store manager. (The brand also has stores in Dallas, San Antonio and Austin.) "Juice cleanses give the body a break from digestion, allowing the stomach and other organs time to rest and repair. It’s also a great opportunity to break bad food habits — sugar and junk food cravings — while flooding the body with nutrients."
One thing that sets Squeeze apart from other juice bars is the selection of juices — "You can do up to a four-day cleanse and never receive the same drink twice," Singleton says — plus the fact that they offer both local delivery and same-day pick-up.
Get sweaty for 40 days (or more)
Most exercise benefits from consistent practice. Working out daily might seem daunting, but committing to a month or more of daily practice requires dedication. The reward is that it creates results in brain, body, and spirit that be seen pretty quickly. With that in mind, two local workout studios are offering extended fitness challenges.
At Revolution Studios, you can commit to completing either 40 or 60 classes over 60 days thanks to their Revolution Resolution. For every 10 yoga or indoor cycling classes you complete, you'll be entered to win a free membership, plus other prizes. You can even double up on classes, like the studio's signature Hustle & Flow, a combo cycling and yoga class.
If you're looking for something that goes beyond just a physical practice, BIG Yoga's 40 Days to Personal Revolution begins on January 15. In addition to exercise, the program requires that you meditate daily, attend one group meeting a week and eat mindfully during the 6-week duration. The program, and the weekly meetings, are based on the book by the same name by Baron Baptiste, who founded the style of yoga taught at BIG. Each week you successfully complete earns you a small prize, and there is a big reward for the end.
Both programs are available at no additional charge beyond the cost of classes.
Go minimal for 30 days
If your resolution is to get rid of habits that no longer serve you, Allison Goldberg has the program for you. The certified life coach and Houstonian is leading a 30-day program called Simplify Your Life, which starts on January 2. During the free program, Goldberg will share daily tips to help you simplify your life, expand your time and increase your happiness.
"The idea of simplifying your life immediately provides a sense of control and calm for us," Goldburg says. "Many people start the new year by adding so many unrealistic ideas about what they’re going to do and not do. Sometimes this sets us up for disappointment, and by doing the simplifying exercise we will equalize that."
Goldberg says that for any of these challenges to work, they have to take place over a sustained amount of time, something that requires commitment. Sounds a bit like the specific, measurable and time-bound aspects of SMART goals.
"The reason we do it for 30 days is because it takes a long time to form habits."