Set SMART Goals Instead of New Year's Resolutions


The beginning of a New Near is a time of reflection and resolution setting. However, more than half of New Year’s resolutions fail. Here’s how to set realistic and attainable goals for the New Year.


Your New Year’s resolution should be as clear and specific as possible. Vague goals are challenging to achieve. It is more helpful to identify the who, what, how, and when of the goal. If need be, break the goal into smaller, more attainable steps.

  • Instead of, “I want to lose weight,” try, “I want to lose 15 pounds in six months. I will do so by going to the gym 4x/week for 30 minutes.”


It’s important to have measurable goals so you can track your progress. In setting a measurable goal, you want to be able to identify and measure the following: How much? How many? And how will I know when I have achieved my goal?

  • For example, if you have identified that you want to lose 15 pounds in six months (e.g., how much?), how many pounds do you want to lose each month? And, are there ways, other than the number on the scale, that will alert you to the fact that you have accomplished your goal?


Set realistic and attainable goals. It’s great to aspire to get a promotion or earn more money in the new year. However, make sure that your goals are not too wide-reaching. It can be helpful to consider setting smaller goals on the way to the big one.

  • If your goal is to be promoted to a vice president in your company, but you are in an entry level position, consider setting a more realistic goal, such as being promoted to the next junior position.


Make sure that the goal you have chosen is important to you and that it is in line with the issue/problem you are trying to solve. It is also helpful to make sure that you are have the resources you need to achieve the goal.


Set a deadline for your goal. Whether it is two weeks or six months, make sure that you have a time-line for when and how you are going to achieve the goal.


As you are setting this year’s resolutions, take a different approach. Try setting resolutions that are guided by the SMART goals above and see how that affects your outcomes.  


Jennifer Welbel