SMART Ways to Achieve Your Goals this Year

December 30, 2019
calendar on desk

calendar on deskThe start of a new year gives people the motivation they need to start living healthier, more productive lives. That is until February comes and the newness and excitement has faded away. If you’ve ever had trouble keeping your New Year’s resolutions in the past, it could be because you’re not setting SMART goals.


A SMART goal is one that’s specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Businesses use this acronym to help them successfully reach their objectives, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t utilize this for our own personal goals. Here are the steps to creating SMART objectives and how to apply this to your New Year’s resolutions.



The first step to creating your SMART New Year’s resolution is to be specific about what you want to achieve. It’s easy to make a grand statement about what you want to do, like “I want to be a better person” or “I want to write more.” The problem is that these statements are vague. What does “be a better person” or “write more” mean exactly? Instead, replace these goals with actionable statements so you have a better vision of what completing them looks like. For example, you could aim to make “start giving compliments to your coworkers” or “finish writing your novel.” You’re more likely to stick to your resolution if it’s small and actionable.



Once you’re set on what you want to accomplish this year, you need to make sure that you have a way of determining whether or not you’ve reached your goal. This means creating a goal that’s number based, that way you can measure your performance. Try setting goals that can be measured either by time, like “reading for an hour before bed every night”, or by counting the number of times you perform an action, like ”eating at least two healthy meals every day.” Think about getting a goal management planner to keep you on track for hitting your goals. Having a resolution that’s based on numbers makes the goal more real to you and gives you small wins to look forward to.



It’s important that your New Year’s resolutions are achievable. This means setting goals that are within your skillset, discipline, or reach. Ask yourself, “Am I actually able to achieve this?” For example, you’re probably not going to have a super successful YouTube channel by the end of this year if you’ve never recorded a video before. You need to remember that while you can and should be whatever you want to be, you have to have a foundation of skills and experiences to build off of. While that example was extreme, it perfectly illustrates how an unachievable goal can be discouraging and leave you feeling unmotivated to reach your goals.


If you do have a big dream that’s currently outside of your skillset, you can break that dream into smaller goals that you can work towards. Instead of trying to be an overnight YouTube sensation, use this year to learn how to create quality content that your viewers will enjoy. You can also work on creating a content schedule to keep you consistent, and you can even learn how to use a content scheduler, like Hootsuite, to make the process a little easier. Your new year will be full of success if you make resolutions that you can actually achieve.



While a realistic goal is similar to an achievable goal, they’re not inherently the same thing. Just because you theoretically can achieve something doesn’t mean that it’s realistic that you will. You have to be motivated to do it, which means that you’re committed to making the changes needed to reach your goal.


It’s also important that you have realistic strategies in place to reach your goal. If you truly want to lose weight this year, then you need to start creating lifestyle changes that will help you get there. This means choosing healthier meals and becoming more active. If you don’t have the motivation to do it on your own, you could start using a community-based weight loss plan, like WW, so that you’ll have people to encourage you to keep going when you feel like giving up. You have to be determined to stick to your resolutions, so try to make ones that you’re willing to work for.



The best goals always have an end date so that you can accurately determine whether or not you’ve reached them. Your New Year’s resolution is no exception. While it makes sense to always be striving to work harder or live healthier, then there’s not really a rush for you to start doing the things that will lead you to these goals. Deadlines give you a sense of urgency, and they also give you the opportunity to adjust your strategies if they aren’t working. If you want to finish writing a novel by Dec. 31, 2020, then you should strive to have half of the novel finished by July 1, 2020, or the halfway point of the year. Each deadline you put on your goals gives you something to strive for, and it helps to keep you motivated. A great way to help keep the motivation is to set a countdown on your phone for each of your goals. Before you know it, you’ll see your resolutions become a reality.


Photo by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash

Deborah A Bailey

Deborah is a writer, writing workshop presenter and published author. She's host of the Women Entrepreneurs Radio podcast.

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