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Building Positive Habits with S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Using S.M.A.R.T., it’d look a little something like this:

GOAL: “go to bed earlier so I drink less at night”

Specific: Move bedtime from midnight to 10 p.m., so I get 2 more hours of sleep and 2 fewer hours of drinking

Measureable: Keep a bedtime journal with “lights out” times and wear a sleep tracker

Assignable: I will do this, and my partner will support me by doing the same

Realistic: I would like to achieve this improved bedtime 5 out of the next 7 nights

Time-related: I will reassess how this is going at the end of 7 days

When we’re hyper-specific and put clear parameters around the who, what, where, when, and why around a goal, it takes it out of the abstract and makes it something that’s actually attainable. It also gives us some accountability—there’s more urgency to make a change when you see the plan laid out so plainly.

Take a moment and S.M.A.R.T. out one or two goals adjacent to the big goal of removing alcohol use. Could you improve your sleep? Could you reduce your daily stress? Could you eat a more balanced diet?

Doran, G. T. (1981). "There's a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management's goals and objectives". Management Review. 70 (11): 35–36.

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