How to Turn Your Resolutions into SMARTER Goals

Every year, millions of people make New Year resolutions to get into shape, eat healthier, make more money, etc. The concept seems great from the surface, but digging a little deeper it seems that many people are setting themselves up for failure. This doesn't apply to everyone, but it will apply to many of those who have failed a time or two. Statistics show that almost half of those who made a New Year's Resolution, didn't end up keeping it. So are your New Year's Resolutions setting you up for failure? Are you setting SMARTER resolutions and goals? Here are 7 reasons why your resolutions may have already failed.


1. They Might Be Too Generic

Making a New Year's resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something. Many people go into the new year telling themselves that this is the year that they lose weight, or this is the year that their business will thrive! The problem with this is that many resolutions lack specificity. Rather than saying, "I'm going to lose weight", a better resolution could be "I'm going to lose 20 pounds." Rather than saying, "I'm going to make more money", a better resolution would be "I'm going to make an extra $20,000."

In other words, be specific!

2. They Might Lack Meaning

Understanding the true meaning of your resolutions and goals are very important to achieving them. The meaning is your "why" behind goal setting because when your goals have deep meaning you'll do whatever it takes to achieve them.

Once you've set a specific goal, understanding WHY you want to lose weight or make more money will give you a huge motivational boost. Writing this down would sound something like, "I want to lose 20 pounds because I need to live a healthier life to serve my family better." If your goal is to make more money this year you can say, "I need to make an extra $20,000 this year to pay off my student loans and invest more into my Roth IRA."

Putting meaning into your goals may be the single biggest difference when it comes to seeing them through until the end.

3. They Might Be Too Ambitious

I'm all for setting huge goals, in fact, I do so myself. I try to hold myself to a high standard of achievement so that I can dream big. The only problem is that big dreams are just that, dreams. They are dreams up until the point that they become reality. But how does this reality of accomplishing a big dream take place?  The answer for many people who have achieved theirs, is by reverse engineering their dreams into smaller achievable goals and milestones.

If you have never lost more than 10 pounds, and your goal is to lose 60, the goal itself might be the problem. Sometimes your goal might be the obstacle just by setting the bar too high for yourself. Setting huge goals may seem impossible, and can even lead you to think you can't accomplish them. This is why it is important to set smaller and more achievable goals or milestones to give you some wins!

Set goals that you can actually achieve so that you build on your momentum. Your short-term goals should be something within your reach, but not so easily attainable that they won’t take much work or effort on your part. This will also help you to build that all- important momentum. Once you achieve your short term milestones, you will be able to see the big goal within reach.

The blaring goal of losing 60 pounds can seem daunting at first, but smaller, more achievable goals of losing 5 pounds per month are within reach. The same goes with your goals. Whatever they are, they can be reverse engineered to create a success path and give you the momentum you need to achieve your goals in time.

4. They May Be Misaligned With Your Priorities

Your goals should be inline with and in harmony with what you actually want out of life. Your goals should match up with your core values. If your core values are contradicting your goals, then you’ll find yourself merely getting frustrated and giving up.
When you set goals that are relevant, you have to dig deep down inside and truly understand what you want out of life. If one of your personal core values is freedom, then setting goals that have you bound to a desk most of the year won’t help you to live a fulfilled life. Remember, your goals shouldn’t be designed with the notion of succeeding to be happy, but rather, with happily succeeding. Set goals that are relevant and inline with what you truly want out of life.

5. They Aren't Time Sensitive

Have you noticed that when you were in school and you were assigned homework, there was almost always a deadline? Have you noticed that your boss will give you small and big projects... with deadlines? Time-based goals are goals that have deadlines. If you aren't giving yourself a time-frame for which to accomplish your goal, it is open-ended, and open-ended goals never get done.

For each and every goal that you set, make sure they are time sensitive, with deadlines! Goals with deadlines create a much needed sense of urgency, and force you to complete your tasks before the deadline expires.

6. You Aren't Reflecting On Wins

Sometimes the most important aspect of goal setting is how you evaluate them. Do you evaluate your goals weekly, monthly, or yearly? There is a purpose for evaluating your goals for each of these intervals.

Evaluating your progress will allow you to focus on your wins, and obtain a good sense of where you are at in achieving your much larger goals.

7. You May Not Be Readjusting Them

If you are like me, you may have set some very hefty goals and realized that you have either fallen behind or you are moving at a much faster pace than expected. Whichever category you fall into, it's important to readjust accordingly so that you can keep up the momentum.

If your goal was to make $100,000 this year, and come March you have already made up 50% of your goal, maybe it's time to readjust accordingly so that you can continue to reach higher. On the contrary, if you are falling well behind your goal, you may need to readjust your path to a more realistic one considering any changes that have occurred since your goals had been set.


So here's the thing... I just outlined 7 steps for SMARTER goal setting, literally. The acronym SMARTER has several slightly different variations, which can be used to provide a more comprehensive definition of goal setting. We use the underlined variations below and have also provided other commonly used terms for goal-setting.

S - specific (Other terms: significant, stretching)

M - meaningful (Other terms: measurable, motivational)

A - achievable (Other terms: agreed upon, attainable, action-oriented)

R - relevant (Other terms: realistic, reasonable, rewarding)

T - time-based (Other terms: time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable)

E - evaluated (Other terms: ethical)

R - readjusted (Other terms: recorded)



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