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Published: Jan 21, 2020

Setting SMART Goals to be successful in the New Year

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With the start of the New Year (and new decade), many people are setting big goals! Some popular New Year’s resolutions include being healthier, saving money, spending more time with family and friends, and many more. No matter what you’re hoping to achieve, set yourself up for success by following the SMART goal setting method.




When setting a new goal, it’s important to be specific. To do this, ask yourself a few questions: Who is involved with achieving this goal? What am I hoping to achieve? Where will the goal take place? When do I want to achieve this goal by? Why do I want to set this goal? Depending on the goal, some of these might be more applicable than others.


For example, rather than, “I want to read more”, try saying, “I will read one chapter of my book each night before I fall asleep.”




The next step to creating a SMART goal is to make sure it’s measurable. Having criteria to measure your progress is of the utmost importance to being successful. Having measurable criteria allows you to know when you reach your goal, but also, if you don’t reach your goal so you can make adjustments.


For example, building on the above scenario, measure your progress by challenging yourself to read one chapter of a book each night.




Do you have the time and resources to achieve this goal? If not, you’ll derail yourself from the start. Make sure that your goal isn’t out of your realm of possibility.


In order to make the above example of reading more achievable, you would need to have access to books and be willing to carve out time in your schedule to sit down and commit to your goal.   




Ensuring that your goal is realistic goes hand in hand with ensuring that your goal is attainable. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure by overcommitting to something that you don’t have the time and effort to do. 


For example, reading an entire book each night is unrealistic for many people, but breaking your goal down into smaller benchmarks, like reading one chapter each night, makes the goal realistic.




The last step in creating a SMART goal is to have a timeline. Knowing when you want to achieve your goal by will help you be successful and keep you motivated.


With the goal of reading more, committing to read one chapter every night until you finish the book is a great timeline. If your book has 12 chapters, give yourself 12 days to read the book in it’s entirety.


The SMART method is a great tool to help you succeed in reaching your goals, but it’s important to remember it will still take hard work. Making a change or trying something new can be hard. If you don’t achieve the goal the first time, recognize that you can always start over. You don’t have to wait for next New Year’s to start again.