SMART Resolutions

SMART Resolutions

A primary reason why resolutions are not kept is that most people don’t make resolutions for the right reasons. According to The New York Times resolutions fail because:

  • You are not the driver of the decision. External forces such as friends, colleagues, or society tell you that you need to change instead of you making the decision to change.
  • You don't define success or identify milestones to reach a goal.
  • Your goals are unrealistic.

Similar to a business goal, your personal resolutions should be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.  

Specific: Instead of saying that you want to lose weight.  Set as a goal to lose 3 pounds a month for six months.  

Measurable: Measurable is easy when it comes to weight loss or more exercise.  You can track the number of steps you take in a day, miles that you run, or time spent on an elliptical.  In other areas where you want to improve, track progress in a daily or weekly journal or use a phone app that helps track progress.

Achievable: It’s not unrealistic or unreasonable to have stretch goals, however, they need to be realistic.  If you want to save more for retirement or a second home, you most likely are not going to be able to do that in a single year.  However, you can set as an achievable goal to save an extra 5% of your take home or another $1000 every month.

Relevant: Some goals are obvious. If you need to lose 20 pounds, that goal is relevant because achieving it will improve your health and well-being and enhance self-confidence. 

Time-bound: The milestone schedule you develop for achieving the goal needs to be realistic.  Focus on smaller goals first.  By the end of January, I plan to run 8 miles a week.  By the end of March, I plan to run 10 miles and week and by the end of May, I plan to run 12 miles a week.  “Focus on these small wins so you can make gradual progress,” writes Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habits. He adds, “If you are building a habit, you’re planning for the next decade, not the next couple of months.”

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