Making Smart Goals

The beginning of a new year is a time for reflection and resolution setting, right?  More than half of New Year’s resolutions fail.  Sometimes we are over achievers.  Sometimes we don’t know what change can really look like when it arrives.  Keep reading below for information on how making new year’s resolutions stick starts with creating realistic and attainable SMART goals for the New Year.


Goal setting can be simple and yield successful outcomes if you follow a few SMART rules?

New Year’s resolutions should be as clear and specific as possible.  Vague goals are challenging to achieve.  It is helpful to identify the who, what, how, and when of the goal.  If necessary, break the goal into smaller steps.  Instead of, “I want to be more outgoing,” try, “I will make two new friends in two months”, or “I will go to one activity with my friends each week.”

Measurable goals can help with tracking progress.  Identify and measure the following: How much?… How many?… And how will I know when I have achieved my goal?  For example, if you have identified that you want to do better in school (e.g., how?), consider measuring your grades for one month? Are there ways, other than grades, that will alert you to the fact that you have accomplished your goal?

It’s great to aspire to get all A’s or be more social in the new year. However, its important to make sure your goals are not too wide-reaching. Consider setting smaller goals on the way to the bigger ones.  If your goal is to be more social, but you don’t see people outside of school, consider setting a goal to hang out with 1 friend after school or over the weekend.

Make sure that the goal is important to you fits with the issue/problem you are trying to solve.  Make sure you are have the resources you need to achieve the goal. If your goal requires transportation, make sure you are talking with your parents or others to help get you there.

Set a deadline for your goal. Whether it is two weeks or six months, make sure that you have a time-line for when and how you are going to achieve the goal.

Stephanie Phillips, LCMHC

Stephanie Phillips, LCMHCS, NCC, CCTP
Psychotherapist & Owner
The Mindly Group, PLLC