Be SMART: Successful Goal-setting for the New Year

Welcome to the new year!

Has the past year been a banner year for you? Do you feel like you could have done so much more? Ever wished that a year had more than 365 days? Whatever the case, we can’t go back to the year that has passed. One year will always mean just 365 days.


The reality: You’re now squarely into the fresh early days of the new year. And, you know what? That’s a good place to be.

Fresh start. It sure has all the makings of a great year. The kicker: It’s all up to you. If you feel that last year could have been better – well, this new year is the perfect opportunity to make it all better. This MAY be your best year yet.

Are you READY to make it happen?

As in all things, it pays to be SMART. No, we don’t necessarily mean intelligence, although that certainly helps. By SMART, we mean --- S.M.A.R.T.

Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, that is.

Goal-setting isn’t new, you say? That’s right. We all set goals – some always, others sometimes, some consistently, others without predictability.

The power of goal-setting is in the clarity it provides you of what you need or want to accomplish. Keyword: Clarity. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is all about getting clarified on what you want to accomplish. Can you see a picture in your head of what you want to accomplish? That’s what clarity means. Until you’ve gauged your goals against our S.M.A.R.T. test, you may be pursuing your goals blindly.

S.M.A.R.T. Goal-setting

Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time bound.

1. S-pecific

When setting goals, create a specific statement of what you want to accomplish or achieve. Avoid making a general one. For example, “I want to be healthy” is a good goal, but it is too general. After all, there are many ways to indicate good health (like weight, muscle mass, heart rate, good night’s sleep, being able to move without any difficulty, etc.) and there are many aspects of one’s life where health can also be ascribed (physical health, emotional, financial and spiritual health, etc.).

To use our example, “I want to be healthy” can be made more specific by saying “I want to be 155 lbs.”

If you say your goal is “I want to be rich”, you can make it more specific by saying “I want to have $1,000,000 in my bank account.”

2. M-easurable

In the goal examples in #1, the goals were made specific AND measurable by adding a value that can be quantified or measured. In the first goal, health was made measurable through one’s weight. It is measurable because stepping on a weighing scale will easily indicate if one has reached one’s target weight. There may be other ways to measure health, but as far as the goal-setter is concerned, weight is a good indicator and used that as basis.

In the second example, being rich was made measurable through a specific amount, i.e., one million dollars. You know that you have reached that goal by simply counting your cash, or looking at your bank statement as to the amount of money you now have.

You could set a goal of being happy, but happiness is too abstract and must be made more concrete by translating in terms that is measurable. Look for an aspect of happiness that can be easily measured. While happiness is often thought to be subjective, there are ways to make it objective. For example, would you have happy having 2 cars? Zero debt? $1,000,000 in savings? 100 friends?

3. A-chievable

The goal you set should be within the realm of possibilities for you. We know, that can be tricky, because often the main reason we don’t set goals is because we don’t think it is possible for us, or that it is unrealistic.

You have to be objective about your assessment of your goals. Is it REALLY impossible or you just THINK it’s impossible for you? You have to check your assessment based on your available resources, what others around you or similar to you have been able to achieve. THINK BIG, but make sure it’s not wishful thinking. But then again, what you claim to be WISHFUL THINKING might actually be attainable, but you are just doubting your capabilities. Check yourself against that. Think it can’t be done because of a lack of resources, no money, no contacts, no talent? Think again: Maybe it’s just a lack of RESOURCEFULNESS.

Don’t short-change yourself in the goals you set. Think big, but don’t lose sight of reality, have a healthy regard of your capabilities to make it happen and be resourceful.

4. R-elevant

This is very important. This is the WHY of goal-setting, and the fire that will fuel your pursuit of your goal. Does it really matter to you? Does it have meaning or purpose for you to achieve this goal? Do you really believe it is important? What is at stake? What are you willing to risk just to make this goal happen?

These questions are important for you to answer in setting a goal. It’s easy to be discouraged by setbacks, especially if your goal is not meaningful, especially if you are not willing to do whatever it takes.

So you want to be healthy… but why? Do you just want to look good for yourself? Or is it so that you will have the energy to spend time with your kids that mean the world to you?

So you want to be rich… but why? Do you just want to show off your wealth to people who really don’t matter to you? Or is it so that you can provide the family you love a good home where you can create happy memories?

If it’s important to you, if it means the world to you and the people you love - you will do whatever it takes to make it happen. Anything less of a motivation can undo your efforts with the tiniest setback.

5. T-ime bound

By this we mean – how long are you giving yourself time to accomplish the goal? What is your timeframe? Too short and you might be pressuring yourself too much. Too long and you might be tempting yourself to procrastinate. If there is no clear deadline for you, then you lose the sense of urgency and a sense of focus to accomplish the goal within a given time.

In our very first example, the goal “I want to be healthy” was made more specific by re-stating it as “I want to be 155 lbs.” This could be honed further by saying “I want to be 155 lbs. by June 30, 2016.” With this, the goal statement has become both measurable and time-bound because when you hit the scale you know if you’ve achieved it, and when you look at the calendar you know how much time you have left to get it done.

You could set short-term, medium-term and long-term goals. That is, goals that span a day, a week, month, or years. If you’d like to set long term goals, you help yourself build on that long term goal by breaking it down into chunks of short-term to medium-term goals.

In our favorite example, “I want to be 155 lbs. by June 30, 2016” can be broken down into “I want to be 170 lbs. by April 30, 2016” and “I want to be 165 lbs. by May 30, 2016.” Each breakdown/chunk of your goal then become milestones that you are able to track so you know that you are making progress.

That’s it.

With a tool like S.M.A.R.T. Goal-setting, we hope that each new year becomes a little less daunting to conquer for you. We hope you find this helpful and come back to find more resources to help you make the most of your new year.

Time to Get Bizzy!


1 Response


January 03, 2017

Drink more coffee

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