How to make SMART New Year's Resolutions

It’s that time of year again, when many of us reflect on things to improve in both our personal and professional lives. If you are thinking of making goals or resolutions I would recommend making SMART ones.

SMART Goals adhere to very simple criteria. This makes them easier to follow and will ensure that your results will be more rewarding. SMART Goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time sensitive.

The first attribute stresses that you need to fully define what your goal is. If you haven’t decided what you want your goal to be you cannot effectively work towards it. The 5 W’s are some good questions to ask to assist you in defining a specific goal:

  • What do I want to achieve?
  • Why do I want to do it?
  • Who is going to be involved?
  • Where does it need to happen?
  • When am I going to do it?

After you have a specific goal you need to find a way to measure your progress. This can provide you with motivation, and help you to know if the effort you’re putting in to achieving your goal is paying off, or could lead you to seek a more effective means to make progress.

One very important property of a SMART goal is that it is attainable. Make sure that the goal is possible. It is good for you to pick a goal that is difficult to achieve, as it can lead to growth, but choosing one that you cannot complete will only be a detriment.

Make sure your goals are ones that are relevant to your current situation. Is the goal worthwhile to you or your team? Is it the right time? Do you have the support needed?

The final attribute of SMART goals is that they are time sensitive. If a “due date” is set for a goal it is more likely to be completed as opposed to being put off. For best results avoid procrastination.

Setting SMART goals will improve your level of achievement and the quality of your results. Once you have determined your goals be sure to write them down, and refer to it often so you can stay focused. Remember, many goals take time to complete and may involve some setbacks. Stay optimistic and success is yours.