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Successful Goal Setting

by Nancy Hightower - December 20, 2022

The New Year is upon us, and with it, so are the chants of “New Year, New You!”

As if there isn’t already enough to do, enough stress, enough to focus on this time of year, there is also a ton of social pressure to think up a New Year’s Resolution.

The problem with resolutions is that they are just a declaration of a change you want to see. They lack a course of action, a solid plan, and a time commitment. Resolutions themselves are good things, but they aren’t achievable unless you make them a goal.

How do you do that? You get SMART.

SMART goals are detailed oriented, planned out, and time-sensitive. SMART goals take your resolution and turn it into a concrete plan that you can achieve.

So, what does SMART stand for?

  • Specific: State your resolution, or end goal, and include as many details about the goal as possible.
  • Measurable: Describe how you plan to measure the achievement. You may create milestones, or break the goal into pieces, to keep track of the progress you are making.
  • Achievable: Consider how important this goal is to you. Now consider what tools, resources, and skills are required to achieve the goal. Do you have what it takes to achieve already? Do you need to learn a new skill, acquire a new tool, or seek out some resources? If so, how do you plan to do that? Are you willing to do what it takes to achieve your goal? Think of this as prep work, or laying the foundation, for achievement.
  • Relevant: Is this goal important in the scope of becoming whom you want to be? Will achieving this goal improve your quality of life, work, or self-worth in some way? State how, in detail, this goal is relevant to you.
  • Time-Bound: Set a realistic timeframe for achieving this goal. No matter how solid your plan is for your goal, if the timeframe is unrealistic, you are unlikely to achieve it. Make sure your timeframe motivates you.

How do you write a SMART goal?

Here is an example SMART goal, so that you can see how easily it can be written.

Step 1. Write down the goal you have in mind.
Example: I will make a large donation to a local nursing home.

Step 2. Consider each letter of the SMART goal and write it down. To do this, ask yourself questions and consider what it is realistically possible for you to achieve.
S – I will knit 100 lap blankets this year for residents of the Grand Oaks Nursing home in my hometown, so every resident can receive a lap blanket for Christmas.

M - I will knit two lap blankets a week and will donate the blankets a week before Christmas.

A – To achieve this goal, I need time to knit, yarn, knitting needles, and a pattern for the lap quilt. I will get the pattern from an online resource. I will get yarn and new needles from the fabric store. I already know how to knit. I will use the time I have after dinner to knit while I’m watching my shows.

R – This goal is relevant to me because I love to help people and want to spend more of my time doing things to make others feel good. I know how much it can mean to the residents of the nursing home to receive a gift for the holidays.

T – I will start this on the first week of January and will have all lap blankets ready to donate by December 15. I will make two lap blankets a week. I will deliver the blankets a week before Christmas for the nursing home to gift the patients with.

Step 3. Work to achieve your goal by following along with what you have written down. If something comes up and you aren’t able to make your timeframe work, that’s okay. Sometimes things happen that we don’t expect. Just work to make adjustments as needed but stay focused on way to achieve your goal. You can do it!


"One part at a time, one day at a time, we can accomplish any goal we set for ourselves."
-Karen Casey, author