New Year’s resolution

S.M.A.R.T Goals

As the year winds down I notice many of my friends are talking about the year that was and what they want from the new year. Many of my friends are very excited because next year is going to be their year… things will be different! What many of them don’t realize is that next year won’t be their year, or the next year, or the year after that. A common pattern I’ve noticed is that when I ask them about the year that was, it is often filled with negativity and they “hope” that the new year would be different. Albert Einstein once said that insanity was “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Many of the people I speak about will be setting their new years resolution on the 1st of January (and probably will be hung over too). They will identify an area in their life that they want to change but many won’t follow through with action. Sadly 95% of all New Years resolutions live in imagination land and never place a step into reality. To ensure you that you see real change in the New Year, I will introduce you to S.M.A.R.T Goals. Below is an except from Paul J. Meyer who describes the characteristics of S.M.A.R.T. goals in Attitude is Everything;


The first term stresses the need for a specific goal over and against a more general one. This means the goal is clear and unambiguous; without vagaries and platitudes. To make goals specific, they must tell a team exactly what is expected, why is it important, who’s involved, where is it going to happen and which attributes are important. A specific goal will usually answer the five “W” questions:

  • What: What do I want to accomplish?
  • Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
  • Who: Who is involved?
  • Where: Identify a location.
  • Which: Identify requirements and constraints.


The second term stresses the need for concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of the goal. The thought behind this is that if a goal is not measurable, it is not possible to know whether a team is making progress toward successful completion. Measuring progress is supposed to help a team stay on track, reach its target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs it on to continued effort required to reach the ultimate goal. A measurable goal will usually answer questions such as:

  • How much?
  • How many?
  • How will I know when it is accomplished?


The third term stresses the importance of goals that are realistic and attainable. While an attainable goal may stretch a team in order to achieve it, the goal is not extreme. That is, the goals are neither out of reach nor below standard performance, as these may be considered meaningless. When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. The theory states that an attainable goal may cause goal-setters to identify previously overlooked opportunities to bring themselves closer to the achievement of their goals. An attainable goal will usually answer the question:

  • How: How can the goal be accomplished?


The fourth term stresses the importance of making goals relevant. A relevant goal must represent an objective that the goal-setter is willing and able to work towards. This does not mean the goal cannot be high. A goal is probably relevant if the goal-setter believes that it can be accomplished. If the goal-setter has accomplished anything similar in the past they may have identified a relevant goal. A relevant goal will usually answer the question:

  • Does this seem worthwhile?


The fifth term stresses the importance of grounding goals within a time frame, giving them a target date. A commitment to a deadline helps a team focus their efforts on completion of the goal on or before the due date. This part of the S.M.A.R.T. goal criteria is intended to prevent goals from being overtaken by the day-to-day crises that invariably arise in an organization. A time-bound goal is intended to establish a sense of urgency. A time-bound goal will usually answer the question:

  • When?
  • What can I do 6 months from now?
  • What can I do 6 weeks from now?
  • What can I do today?

Understand why you must achieve this goal. Goals need commitment to last through even the toughest time. Knowing my why will push me through the excuses that I will form over time. What are the reason you absolutely will achieve this goal no matter what? Why do you want to do this? Set your goal prior to the new year. There is no time like the present to take action on your detailed goal. Look to build momentum with your new year goal and ask yourself what action no matter how small can you take immediately? If you have a moment, I would love to hear about your goal and what you want to achieve. So what is your goal for the new year?