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Make Your New Year’s Resolution a SMART Goal

Categories: Blog

We are just a few days away from a new year. Many of you have or will make New Year’s resolutions. It could be one of the standards such as losing a certain amount of weight, starting an exercise program, drinking less soda, eating less candy, etc. Maybe it is something different and more personal to you. Or maybe it is work related such as meeting new professional contacts, listening better to others, or having more balance in your life.

The problem is resolutions are hard to keep. How many times have you had a resolution and it lasted for a week? Or maybe it lasted a month? Odds are you were not keeping the resolution by the end of that year (assuming it was something that would take a year to accomplish or was a permanent change you were trying to make to a behavior or habit).

If you are making New Year’s resolutions, I propose you try something new. Have an action plan on how to stay on task to meet your resolution. To do so, make your resolution a SMART goal. I know many of you have heard this acronym before, and maybe even have set SMART goals in the past.

For those that haven’t, it stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Resolutions generally fail because trying to do something or stop doing something by sheer force of will is a recipe destined to fail. If your resolution doesn’t fit within the SMART goal parameters, revise it so that it does. You will have a much better chance of success.

Another idea is to find someone to be an accountability partner. If you are reporting regularly to another person on the status of your work towards a goal there is a much better chance to achieve it. Make sure whoever you pick will hold you accountable and regularly check in on how you are doing on your path to reaching your goal.

Know that your SMART goal/resolution may be achievable in less than year – remember one element is the time you think it will take to reach your goal. If you meet your resolution, come up with a new SMART goal. It doesn’t matter if it is January 1 or May 22. You should constantly look to improve yourself, your business, your life – well, you get the idea. Try it and see what happens.

As always, this post and others can be found on my blog, Business Law Guy.


About the Author: Neal Bookspan is a partner at the Phoenix, Arizona law firm of Jaburg Wilk. He assists clients with business issues, commercial litigation, workouts, and bankruptcy litigation. Neal can be reached at 602.248.1000.