At this time of year, everyone seems to be blogging about top 10’s from the last year, or forecasts and projections for the next year. So I thought I’d get into the the new years spirit with an observation for you.

New Years resolutions all fail for one reason.

In fact, most plans fail for one reason. And the reason? They are not SMART.

In these modern times, the SMART acronym feels a bit old school. But at this time of the year it really comes into it own. And when you see its power in terms of your resolutions, you’ll quickly adopt the methodology into all your planning processes.

The beauty of SMART is that is so simple. And being simple its easy to use. SMART objectives in themselves aren’t necessarily unbreakable or magically doable, but objectives that aren’t SMART are almost impossible to achieve. In my experience undertakings, goals, plans, objectives or even good old resolutions all fail for this one reason.

And couching your plans or resolutions in SMART terms means they are more than achievable, in fact, if they are properly SMART you’ll get them done!

SMART means:

Specific: be absolutely precise. With amounts or values – losing some weight is not a specific objective, losing 7 pounds is!

Measurable: If it’s not measured, it’s not managed. If you can’t measure what you are doing how will you know you are winning? This goes for getting better at something or doing less of something for instance. How do you know if you’ve got better? or that you’ve done less? Feel is not the same as Real.

Achievable: Don’t set yourself up to fail. Set yourself a goal you CAN achieve, not one that is likely to go undone for the whole of the next year. Getting fit is one thing, especially when considered with the Specific and Measurable elements of SMART – committing to running a marathon is quite another.

Relevant: Don’t set objectives or goals that have nothing to do with what you are about. Nothing to do with what you want to be. Nothing to do with what you want to become. Make them relevant to the bigger picture. Maybe a work related resolution to improve your capability to do your job would be more useful to you than learning ballroom dancing?

Timed: The final, and in some ways, most important part of SMART. Make sure your resolutions have a time limit. If you have never-ending, open-ended plans, how would you ever know if you have achieved them?

Once you get used to the system, you’ll have no trouble using it. But it does take a bit of practice at first. Take each of your resolutions one by one, hold them up to the SMART acronym and make sure that they meet the SMART criteria.

For example. ‘I must lose weight next year’ (or in the new year) is almost SMART, but not quite. ‘I must lose 7 pounds by June’ is. Equally, ‘I must lose 70 pounds by June’ isn’t! (At least not for most people!)

‘I want to earn more money’ is NOT a SMART objective. ‘I want to increase my earnings by 20% over the next 12 months’ IS.

See, its simple!

The next part is the more difficult part really, and that’s working out how you will active the objectives, and then of course having the discipline to stay on the plan

But let me promise you this, if your resolutions aren’t SMART in the first place, you’ll never achieve them.

Good luck, and be SMART!

  1. Tan
    Tan says:

    I will be SMART in promising that I will finish writing my book in 2012 and get it published by the end of 2012. That’s as specific as I can be!