How to set New Year Resolutions That Work

Once again, that time has come to start tracking resolutions for the year ahead…. or at least the next month!  I, like the majority of people, have a tendency to set them and then follow them for a few weeks before slowly “re-prioritising” them.  Usually because I don’t track them within my to-do list!

Another thing that I have had a tendency to do, is not set S.M.A.R.T. objectives.  S.M.A.R.T. doesn’t mean clever, or sharply dressed (although a few of the “S.M.A.R.T.” objectives I’ve seen in the past have had a certain façade around them!  What it actually stands for is:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely


The specific part, really summarises the whole objective.  “Get in shape” is not specific – how do you know when you are in shape?  A more specific goal would be “Get into a pair of size 34 trousers”.  In order to make a goal specific, it helps to ask yourself the 5Ws:

  1. Who – is involved?
  2. What – needs to be accomplished?
  3. Why – does it need to be accomplished?
  4. Where – does it need to take place?
  5. When – does it need to be accomplished by?  How often? Etc.


If you have no measure against your goal, then you have no way of knowing whether you have achieved it, or how you are performing against it!  Taking the previous example, by giving yourself a target trouser size, you have your target!  If you wanted to be uber-geeky, you could track your weekly waist size against a graph, to track your performance!

Attainable & Realistic

This is another deal breaker!  If you set yourself an unobtainable goal, not only will you not achieve it, but you’ll dishearten yourself and probably fall short of what you could have achieved if you had set yourself a slightly less ambitious goal!  The old adage of “Aim for the stars” doesn’t always ring true!  However, it is important to set yourself targets that stretch you.  For instance, I know that I won’t be able to build this blog up to get 10,000 unique visitors / month within a year, no matter how hard I try.  However, I think 1,000 could be within my grasp.  It would be a stretch, and I would be happy with half of that.


Putting a timescale on your goals is just as important as a unit to measure them against.  Sure, I may want to improve the SEO on the website so that I get 1,000 unique visitors a month, but unless I set myself a deadline, then I’ll just keep putting it on the back burner.  By giving myself a timeframe to work in, I can plan appropriately.

Its only through setting goals with all of the above attributes that you can build your goal list to become something that is achievable and that you want to achieve.

With that in mind, here are my goals for 2013:

  1. Write a minimum of 600 words a week for leisure.  This would either be for this blog, guest blogging, books or short stories.  I’ve wanted to improve my writing and communication for some time now.  Not just for the obvious communication skill development, but in order to research and share some of the things that interest me.
  2. Publish on average, one photo a week to the internet.  Either onto my own website, into competitions or to stock photo sites.  Photography and digital art is one of my passions, but I only tend to do stuff ad hoc.  This year I’d like to build a bit of a framework and workflow into my photography and by setting this goal, it’ll drive me into bigger and better things.
  3. Complete a 50+ mile cycle ride within 2013.  The furthest I have ridden so far in one go has been 25 miles.  I have plans to complete one of the big cycle rides in our area next year with a friend, and hopefully make some money for charity in the process.  I’ll need to build up my training beforehand though, otherwise I’ll have a very sore bum!

So, these are some of my personal goals for this year.  There are a few others, which I am keeping to myself for the time being, but will hopefully become apparent throughout the year!

What are everyone else’s goals?

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