How to Set New Year's Resolutions Using SMART Goals


Olivia Lucero

It’s the holiday season and New Year’s Day is almost upon us. A time for new beginnings. But new beginnings can be hard.

If you’ve already read “The Dreams and Realities of New Year’s Resolutions”, you already know why resolutions are so hard to stick to. What if we rethink New Year’s resolutions? What if we learn to improve our goal setting techniques and use the energy around us in our favor to create a better reality?

Get out your pen and paper because curating goals that work will require work. Are you ready to create a better New Year’s resolution?

Set A Theme For The New Year

Once you’ve reflected on the previous year and decided in what ways you’d like to grow and improve, it might help to set a theme for the new year.

Some examples would be confidence, money, health, self care, productivity, spirituality, love, relationships, creativity, organization, boundaries, and positivity, among others. This theme will be kind of like a mantra and sort of like a guiding light, but it is not a goal in and of itself. Instead, you’ll create goals that capture the energy of the theme.

Create SMART Goals That Align With Your Theme

Next, make sure your goals are specific. You need to be able to envision your goal as a reality. If you can’t do this, it may mean your goal is not realistic or attainable. To make sure you are setting goals that you can stick to, use the SMART method of goal setting. A SMART goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. We’ll give an example if your theme for the new year was health.

Specific: How will you be healthy? What does healthy mean? Health of mind, body, or soul?

Measurable: How many times will you work out in a week? How many glasses of water will you drink? How many servings of vegetables will you aim for each day?

Attainable: Do you have the financial means to buy these vegetables? Do you have the freedom in your schedule to go for a run every day? Do you have the physical means to work out this much? To make sure your goal is attainable, start small, and then push yourself harder when you see what you are capable of.

Realistic: Is this goal something you can actually work towards and achieve in the near future? Is it even possible? Is it healthy? It is okay to dream big, but goals need to be small, realistic steps.

Timely: At what specific time and on what days will you work out? For how long? At what time of day will you eat your daily salad? By when would you like to start seeing results in how you feel? Goals work best when they are daily because you build a more steady routine, but do what is realistic and attainable for you.

Without SMART goals, it’s impossible to track and measure your progress. How will you know when you have become “healthy” without a specific way to measure that? How will you be able to hold yourself accountable for working on your goal every day if you don’t have a schedule and expectations set up for yourself? How will you be able to envision your life as someone that is “healthy” if you cannot define it?

How To Apply This To Your Life

Write out your SMART goals in a statement or series of statements in the positive present tense. Remember that once you make the goal, you start to make it your reality, so it is not strange to put it in the present tense. Examples of SMART goals within the theme of health would be:

“I go for a fifteen-minute jog every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I eat a salad for lunch every day at around 12 p.m. I am losing 20 pounds this year, which means I am losing 1.6 pounds every month.”

You will know you have written your goal correctly if you can check off whether or not you did what you needed to do. You can’t check off “be healthy” but you can check off “15-minute jog.”

You can become more confident, healthy, financially stable, or whatever your dreams are for yourself just by changing your mindset, envisioning that goal, and willing it into existence. Your thoughts become your reality. What will be your reality in the new year? Picture it in detail using the SMART goals you created. We’re excited for you!

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