Smart Goals: The Last New Year’s Resolution You’ll Ever Need

Writing down your smart goals

Are you used to giving up on your New Year’s resolution after a few weeks of halfhearted effort? It’s not because you’re incapable of growth. New Year’s resolutions are inherently faulty. They fail over and over because of an unhealthy mindset and lack of strategic planning. Setting smart goals is an effective alternative to yearly resolutions. 

Think about a goal you have in mind for the new year. Is it rooted in your personal values? Are you aspiring towards vanity or meaningful growth? Be sure you are approaching your objectives from a place of compassion and clarity. 

One simple way to create meaningful goals is to use the proven smart goals strategy in place of a resolution. This strategy helps us approach growth strategically and encourages meaningful reflection. 

Why Resolutions Fail  

Creating a goal based on a negative mindset driven by insecurity or pain is a recipe for failure. Think deeply about the personal values you want to live out. Think about your growth from a place of acceptance and courage. Avoid comparing yourself to others during the goal-setting process. 

Let’s consider an example I hear every year: “My resolution is to get skinny.” 

Many people approach this broad goal too aggressively with no real plan in mind. They throw in the towel by the end of the month and try again next year. 

What went wrong: 

  • The goal stemmed from a counterproductive mindset that doesn’t align with meaningful personal values. 
  • It had no specific result or timeline. 
  • There was no way to measure progress. 

To break the cycle of failed resolutions, we must think big and take small, measurable steps. 

Smarter Goals = Long Term Success 

The SMART acronym provides a roadmap for strategic objective setting. It stands for Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. 

There are a few reasons why this type of detailed goal-setting exercise works. 

  • First, the objective is precise. In a 2011 study, researchers concluded that specific goals were more successful. Broad or unclear objectives were more likely to fail. 
  • Finally, short-term goals with weekly milestones motivate our brains to stay on track. An APA essay released in 2018 found short-term performance goals more motivational. Time management is crucial for success. 

Clarity allows us to envision a path to success, thus making our desires easier to achieve. 

How to Make a Smart Goal 

  1. Figure out specifically what you want. 
    One of my personal values is living a healthy lifestyle. I want to get fit in the new year, so my specific goal is to run a 5k. 
  2. Make it measurable. 
    I want to run a 5k in under 30 minutes. I’ll track my process using my favorite running app.
  3. Make sure it’s attainable. 
    Right now, I run a 5k in just over 35 minutes. My plan is attainable if I stick to my weekly training plan. 
  4. Double-check that it’s relevant to your core values.  
    Living a healthy lifestyle is an important core value. Running a 5k in under 30 minutes helps me live out this core value. 
  5. Make it timely. 
    I want to run a 5k in under 30 minutes by shaving off at least one minute per week for the next 5 weeks. I’ll use the app to measure my progress each week and stay on track. 

If you follow the steps and stay committed to your plan, you’ll find success all year long. 

Ready to Level Up? 

To ramp up your smart goals, add an E and R to make it SMARTER. If your progress is Evaluated and Reviewed by someone to hold you accountable, you’re more likely to succeed.

Choose a friend or join a larger community of people working towards the same goal. Try sending weekly progress reports on what you achieved that week. 

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