How to be SMART About Goal-setting

Green coffee mug filled with black coffee sitting on a napkin with the handwritten words: "A goal without a plan is just a wish." A pen sits nearby.

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How are those new year’s resolutions going? While many of us resolve to make changes in our lives at the start of the new year, very few of us actually follow through on those plans beyond a few weeks. In fact, studies have shown that only 9% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions were actually successful in keeping them (Schwantes, 2022). Those statistics don’t suggest that making resolutions for the new year is an effective strategy. 

Instead of making resolutions, try setting goals! In an article for Lifehack, Malika Boyd (2021) encourages us to set goals instead of resolutions, asserting that “setting measurable goals is more likely to lead to success in seeing your hopes and dreams come to fruition” (para. 2). Beyond stating a goal, create SMART goals for yourself. 

What does it mean to create a SMART goal? A SMART goal is a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. This idea was first introduced by George Doran in 1981 and outlines a strategy for establishing and writing managerial objectives. The idea is that using these criteria to write our goals or objectives will help us focus and have a clear sense of direction. We will know exactly what we want to achieve and also how we plan to achieve it and when. 

SMART goals can help us capture that January momentum and use it to make positive changes. For more help creating SMART goals, check out the latest video resource from Purdue Global’s Academic Success Center, Setting Smart Goals

Until next time, this is Dr. Linscott with another Learning for Success podcast. Happy learning!

References 

Boyd, M. (2021, January 19). How to set goals instead of resolutions for the new year. Lifehack. https://www.lifehack.org/352366/how-set-goals-instead-resolutions-for-the-new-year

Doran, G. T. (1981, November). There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives. AMA Forum. 35-36.

Schwantes, M. (2022, January 8). Studies show 91% of us won’t achieve our New Year’s goals. How to be the 9% that do. Inc. https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/studies-show-91-percent-of-us-wont-achieve-our-new-years-resolutions-how-to-be-9-percent-that-do.html

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