The other night I played Quizzo with a group of my friends and since it was the last Wednesday of 2017, all of the categories were centered around a “year in review.” The first round consisted of 10 questions based on big headlines in 2017. Of the 10 headlines in question, only 1 of them revolved around something indisputably positive. I think we are all ready to put 2017 behind us. In doing so, however, we must plan for 2018 and a great way to get started is setting a great New Year’s Resolution.

New Year’s Resolutions can be really great, but so many people set ineffective ones. They pick these grandiose goals with no plan and they rarely have a vision of what their lives would actually look like with this goal accomplished. Goal-setting can be incredibly helpful, but it’s not as simple as just thinking of something you want. Think of goal-setting as your map to the progress you desire. Is it easier to get to your friend’s house when all he gives you is the address or when he gives you the address, step-by-step directions, and landmarks for you to look out for? The answer is obvious. So for 2018, let’s stop setting goals such “I want to get stronger” or “I want to lose weight.” Instead, let’s make our goals SMART.

What is SMART?

SMART is an acronym to help you remember what you should incorporate when writing a goal for yourself. There are 5 key components to a SMART goal.

  1. Specific
  2. Measureable
  3. Attainable
  4. Relevant
  5. Timely

Why set goals in the first place?

You may see the acronym a few different ways, but ultimately it can be used for the same purpose – making your goals better! Now before I explain what SMART is and how you can use it, let’s chat about why we should even set goals in the first place. There’s an old study done on Harvard business undergraduates where they surveyed students about their goals. Did they have goals or not? If so, did they actually write them down?

The surveyors followed up with the students a decade later to ask them about their careers and their income and the results were staggering. On average, students that had goals back when they graduated earned twice as much as their counterparts that did not. Mind you that this is Harvard we’re talking about. They earned twice as much money as their peers just from having goals. The goal-setters that wrote their goals down made 10x as much money as the goal-setters that didn’t. That’s 20x more than the other Harvard grads that didn’t have goals at all! While money doesn’t equate to happiness or success, it’s not something that any of us are going to be turning down. So you see why setting goals is so important.

Understanding a SMART Goal

Back to setting SMART goals now. To understand a SMART goal, it is easiest just to look at one (this is actually one of my own):

By March 31, 2018, I will have a total of 10 online personal training clients.

  1. Specific – the goal refers to one particular aspect of the growth I want to have in regards to my career and business venturesNow let’s break down why this goal is SMART and why it works:
  2. Measureable – the goal directly says 10; if I have less than 10 by March 31, I haven’t accomplished my goal. Note that I didn’t say “I want to have more online personal training clients.” Attach a number to your goal.
  3. Attainable – as of the time I’m writing this article, I have 4 clients, so while 10 is ambitious, I know plenty of people with a similar-sized social media following with more than 10 clients
  4. Relevant – this goal would help me toward my business, financial, and career goals for 2018
  5. Timely – I only have until March 31 to accomplish this goal or else I have not completed it

The New Year is a great time to collect your thoughts and feelings and set some goals. The holidays are over and you finally feel like you can focus on you again. We all want to be better versions of ourselves and a great start to that is setting a great New Year’s Resolution. Setting one, however, just isn’t enough. Try following the SMART principle and see if you aren’t more successful in whatever endeavors you set out on in 2018!

Nick Boleto

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