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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.

Potter’s SMART Resolutions


With the beginning of the new year comes a perfect opportunity to reflect on the past and set in motion everything we said we were going to do this past year, but didn’t. I’m talking about New Year’s resolutions. After every holiday season, the media is filled with ways to stick to your resolutions, but for a student-athlete like myself, it’s business as usual.

Articles from Forbes in 2013 and the Huffington Post in 2016 both highlight the 8 percent success rate of new year’s resolutions, and they linked that number back to Stastic Brain and its New Year’s resolution statistics. With a 92 percent fail rate, how is anyone likely to keep a resolution? Different outlets chime in every year with their fool-proof way to keep resolutions, but as a high-level athlete who frequently sets goals, my recommendation is simple — don’t make any New Year’s resolutions.

As a member of the University of Utah women’s basketball team, the new year falls right in the middle of our season. As we begin 2018, the team and I will be immersed in our Pac-12 conference play — we won’t even be midway through our season. I say this to highlight the fact that my goal setting and resolutions never fall on New Year’s, and that’s okay.

Every athlete has a different competition schedule for their respective sport, and at the U there are multiple teams in and out of season at any point throughout the year. Fall sports like soccer and football are over, and Utah’s winter and spring sports, such as skiing, gymnastics and track and field, take center stage. Baseball and softball are still waiting to start competition, and basketball is a unique sport that has a lengthy season that overlaps into both fall and spring semesters.

If the end of your work, school or sport schedule doesn’t fall at the end of a calendar year, and most don’t, that doesn’t mean you can’t set goals. Adjust when you plan and reflect on goals to best fit your personal calendar year.

I set goals in the spring, a few weeks after basketball season ends. I give myself a few weeks to decompress and then I go over my offseason and season to set goals I want to achieve. If you set goals in the summer or fall, maybe this new year is the halfway point of your goals and you need to check in on your progress and modify them to be more realistic.

Whenever I sit down to set goals, I remember a strategy called SMART goal setting that I was taught years ago during a training camp with a junior level Canadian basketball team. It is an acronym that helps me plan all the areas of goals that people tend to get stuck on. For a goal to be SMART, it must have all the components that make up the five words of the acronym — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely.

For example, we will use the most common New Year’s resolution people make, according to Statistic Brain, which is to lose weight/eat healthier.

My biggest struggle with goal setting is to not let one setback take me completely off track. Yes, you need to make sacrifices and do things you don’t feel like doing sometimes, but everyone has off days. Don’t set yourself up for failure by aiming for perfection. It is unrealistic and does not meet the third SMART goal requirement of being achievable.

Start using SMART goal setting the next time you sit down to plan for the future, and find the time in your year where you restart, so you can reflect and set more goals at those times that work for you and your schedule.


Answer the five ìWísî about your goal. Saying you want to eat healthier is not specific enough, but wanting to eat the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables every day is more detailed.

Who: Me.

What: Fruits and vegetables.

When: Starting next month.

Where: Everywhere, whether itís cooking at home or eating out.

Why: I want to physically feel better.


How will you know when youíve accomplished your goal? If you eat two cups of fruit and three cups of vegetables (the recommended amount varies for age and sex).


Goals should challenge you, but not scare you to failure. Donít sell yourself short, but if youíve been eating a strict diet of macaroni and cheese for the past five years, maybe this is too big of a step in one goal and you should start smaller.


Make sure your goals are yours and yours alone. They should be relevant to you, not what someone else wants for you. Does it feel worthwhile to you? Your health is always relevant, so this goal works.


How are you going to track your progress, and when do you want to have the goal completed? What steps are you taking daily, weekly and monthly, and when will you check in? Every week you could add one more vegetable or fruit to your regimen, so try to maintain that amount before moving on.

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