How to make SMART New Year’s Resolutions, and Achieve Them!

How to make SMART New Year’s Resolutions, and Achieve Them

Having goals in life is great because they allow you to consistently work towards achieving something that you desire. New Year’s resolutions are just like that. They are those goals that most of us set for ourselves at the start of every year, which is a fantastic thing because we place these goals with the underlying motivation of making our coming year better than our last year.

However, many of us have a hard time sticking to our New Year’s resolutions and many of us also fail at them. First thing you need to know is that it’s okay, you are not the only one. Consistently working towards a goal is a hard task and one that requires more than just commitment. It requires motivation, consistency, planning, tracking and patience. Second thing that you need to know is that using the SMART goal framework to design your New Year’s resolutions is a fantastic way to make the whole journey of working towards your goals both easier and achievable.  


What is a SMART Goal?


The SMART Goal framework is a simple way of giving a generic vague goal more meaning, clarity, sense of direction and plan. SMART is an acronym which stands for:

S = Specific

A SMART goal is specific to ensure that it well defined, clear and not vague.

M = Measurable

A SMART goal is measurable to ensure that the progress of the goal can tracked.

A = Achievable

A SMART goal is achievable to ensure that it genuinely attainable and, in your power, to achieve.

R = Realistic

A SMART goal is relevant to ensure that it is relevant to you, your long-term goals and values.

T = Timely

A SMART goal is timely to ensure that it has a clear time-frame including the starting date and the finishing date.


How to design SMART New Year’s Resolutions


Because the SMART Goal is extremely simple, any normal goal or New Year’s resolution can simply be converted into a SMART Goal. To demonstrate this, lets look at a list of the most common New Year’s resolutions (by Peter Economy) people set for themselves almost every year. Here is the list:

  1. Exercise more
  2. Diet or eat healthier
  3. Lose weight
  4. Save more and spend less 
  5. Learn a new skill or hobby
  6. Quit smoking
  7. Read more
  8. Find another job
  9. Drink less alcohol
  10. Spend more time with family and friends


As you might have noticed, these New Year’s resolutions are vaguely defined, so we are going to convert them into SMART New Year’s resolutions. Let’s first take the New Year’s resolution “Exercise More” as an example.  Now, one thing to remember is that any goal in your life should be a personal goal designed only for you to achieve. A different person reading “exercise more” will most certainly have the goal planned out differently. Therefore, this goal is going to be personally converted for the author of this article, who is a 22-year-old athletic male and attends the gym 5 days a week already. 

Looking through the SMART Goal framework, this resolution is missing many things:


“Exercise More” – Specific

By simply saying you are going to “exercise more” is extremely ambiguous and unclear. To make it more specific for our author and give the goal some more meaning, the goal can possible look like this:

“Exercise more to increase muscle mass by 10%”


“Exercise More” – Measurable

Cool, now that the goal has more meaning behind it, our author needs a way of tracking the progress of this goal. Therefore, the goal can look something like this now:

 “Exercise 6 days a week to increase muscle mass by 10%”


“Exercise More” – Achievable

Slowly, this is becoming a much more planned goal for our author. Our author, however, is a little concerned with the scope of this goal and not sure if it is achievable because the author is an 80kg male gaining another 8kg of lean muscle, which seems extremely difficult. Therefore, to make the goal more achievable, it can be changed to:

 “Exercise 6 days a week to increase muscle mass by 5%”


“Exercise More” – Relevant

As our author is a gym fanatic who loves bulking and weight training, this goal is perfectly relevant to him. However, if our author was someone who enjoy bodyweight training more for example, the goal would be set differently. However, our author is happy with this goal and we are going to keep it like that:

“Exercise 6 days a week to increase muscle mass by 5%”


“Exercise More” - Timely

No SMART goal is complete without a time-frame and our author needs a realistic deadline as well. Therefore, here is the goal with a specific timeline.

 “Exercise 6 days a week to increase muscle mass by 5% in 6 months”


And there you go; our author finally has a proper SMART New Year’s Resolution for 2020. See how simple that was? We went from an extremely vague goal like “exercise more” to a SMART Goal like “exercise 6 days a week to increase muscle mass by 5%”. Therefore, if you simply take any vague New Year’s resolutions of yourself and convert them into a SMART Goal, you will have an easier time progressing through your goal and yours chances of accomplishing it will increase. Goodluck for your New Year’s resolutions this year!