Setting SMART goals for New Year resolution success


From: Dr. Nikki Gilbertson
Buffalo City

It’s New Year resolution time! The statistics are daunting and certainly not in our favor. Eight percent of people fail their New Year resolution goals by February and only eight percent of people actually ever meet their goals. Why is that? Of course it could be any number of individual reasons, but more than likely you can improve your odds by following a few tips for setting yourself up for success.

But first, why even bother setting goals if we are so likely to fail anyway? Great question, but let me answer your question with a question: Are you happy? Are you satisfied with your relationships? Do you enjoy your work? Do you feel that you are getting the most out of your one life? If yes, then are you doing everything possible to make sure you can maintain your wonderful life?

More than likely, you can identify some areas of improvement in your life. This is why we set goals, so that you can purposefully and intentionally do something about it. Instead of saying, “One day I’ll ... ” Let’s start talking about day one!

Set SMART goals

1. Specific: Your goals should be clearly defined rather than ambiguous. Instead of saying, “I want to be healthy,” you could say, “I am going to lower my blood pressure,” or “lose 15 pounds,” etc. Specific goals help you strategize for how you will reach your goals.

2. Measurable: Your goals should be able to be measured in some way. This helps you track progress, which can keep you motivated toward the ultimate goal. It also makes the goal more tangible. It can help you assess whether or not your strategies towards your goal are effective. Weight loss goals are easy to measure, just step on the scale. Other goals, like being more productive at work, may require you to quantify that more specifically, like completing all your tasks before a deadline.

3. Attainable: Your goals need to be attainable within your skill set or you will obviously not reach your goal. This doesn’t mean you have to already have all the skills needed to attain your goals, but it does require you to consider what skills are needed so that if you must develop some new skills, you can do that in order to achieve your goal. It does me no good to set a goal of sailing around the world, if I do not have a boat! I need to set the goal of attaining a boat first.

4. Relevant: Your goal should be something that is currently affecting you. I am not saying never to set long term goals, but to get started, focus on shorter term goals, or at least lesser degrees of a longer term goal. For example, if you want to start saving for a house you could set a goal to save $100 a month rather than focusing on saving up $100,000. Goals that are designed to benefit you much further in the future are less likely to be motivating right now.

5. Time bound: Having a specific deadline to your goals increases a sense of urgency that can be motivating. It also incorporates accountability, even if it is self-accountability! You will have to accept failure at the end of your set time frame rather than just saying, “I just haven’t met it yet.” Failure does not have to be a discouragement; however, it can be used as a way to reassess your strategic approach toward meeting your goal.

So whether you are bound to be the next millionaire, have plans to learn a second language, run a marathon, or find Mr./Mrs. Right, set SMART goals.


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