Jan 10, 2011

Smart New Year’s Resolutions

Reading: Heartbreaker by Linda Howard
Watching: Top Gear
Listening to: Lullaby by Jewel
Making me smile: My new laptop

January is the month that many a person across the globe is busy making New Year’s Resolutions...to lose those last five kilos, to get that book of the heart written, to find a new job, to blog more….

BUT…we’ve all been in the position where many a New Year’s Resolution has fallen by the wayside. Life intrudes and by half way through the year we realise we don’t have a chance of success and by December we realise our resolutions were too ambitious, too big, too unrealistic.

So how do we make realistic resolutions that we have a good chance of making reality? I’ve borrowed a little tool from my day job that we use to set business goals and objectives and it absolutely applies to resolutions. We need to set SMART resolutions.

Image: Gualtiero Boffi | Dreamstime.com

Specific - don’t set yourself a nebulous, generic resolution. If you want to succeed your resolution must be specific. Don’t say “I’m going to write this year” instead say “I’m going to write a 15,000 word short story” or I’m going to write a 50,000 word category book.”

Measurable – you have to be able to measure your resolution to a) track your progress and b) to know when you’ve succeeded! So
you need to know how many words you’re going to write, how many kilos you want to lose or how many times you plan to blog.

Attainable – your goal needs to be realistic. Don’t set yourself a resolution you have no chance of achieving or you’re setting yourself up for failure!

Relevant – too many times I see people set themselves resolutions that don’t align with their passions. If you are setting a resolution to make someone else happy you’re doomed to failure. Make sure your resolution is relevant to you.

Time-based – make sure you have enough time to complete your resolution. It’s also important to set yourself some mid-year, time-based milestones so you know you’re on track.

There's one more important thing about resolutions…don’t set too many for yourself! Pick the two or three that are really important to you and focus on those.

Among my 2011 resolutions is blogging minimum twice per week at my personal blog and working on my new Nocturne Bites for 2011.

So, what are your (SMART) New Year’s Resolutions?


  1. Anna, they are *such* good guidelines! I didn't make any resolutions, but dh and I did make a wish. We always use New Year's to make a wish, like a falling star. We wish big, and they usually come true. =)

  2. Blogging twice a week - that's a great commitment.
    This year I'm hoping to enjoy the small moments more. I find life hurtles by otherwise.

  3. SMART! Great acronym, Anna! So, now I have to confess I haven't made any New Year resolutions... BUT after reading your SMART guide, I feeling moved to! Now let me see...

  4. Mine is very simple, write for 60mins a day. Found writing every day a challenge in 2010 so hope by setting it as a goal I might manage it :)

  5. Hi Rachel --
    Well, I don't think wishes need to be smart (-: They just need to follow your heart. Here's hoping your 2011 wish comes true!

  6. Hi Zana --
    I'm going to work hard to stick to my blogging resolution. Enjoying the small moments more is an excellent idea.

    How are you going to make that smart? At least one small moment a week? If you don't make it smart you might find you get to the end of the year and life has hurtled by!

  7. Hi Sharon --
    Glad you liked the acronym and very pleased to hear you're inspired to set some smart resolutions!

  8. Hi Anita --
    What a perfect, smart resolution -- write for 60 mins per day! Best of luck making that resolution reality.

  9. Hi Anna, what excellent advice for setting NY's resolutions. I don't make resolutions but I do set goals for the year. And the big one at the moment is Finish The Masters! And yes, it's broken down into manageable chunks that I can cross off as they're done -- there's something very satisfying about drawing a line through something, don't you think? :-)

    Good luck with your resolutions!

  10. Hi Michelle --
    Best of luck with finishing the Masters!! Glad to hear you've broken it down into chunks. I completely agree that crossing things off your list is oh so satisfying and oh so motivating.

  11. Anna, I'm loving the SMART idea!

    My resolution is to slow down and smell the flowers. Nothing groundbreaking but so important. =)

  12. Anna, great post!
    I've made pretty big resolutions, but they are attainable, and they are my passion (writing), so I think I've done the SMART thing!

  13. Ah the SMART model. I haven't seen it for a little while but it's always good to remind oneself to be SMART in making goals (I prefer that to resolution). I had set my goals and recently worked out the timeline.

    I think the big thing you mentioned Anna is that it has to be relevant to you, not others. Very important.

    Best of luck with your 2011 resolutions Anna and LoveCats

  14. Hi Robyn --
    Great idea. Sounds like you and Zana are on the same track. Here's to smelling the flowers in 2011.

  15. Hey Mel --
    Kudos to you on your big but smart resolutions. It is so important to follow your passions. Hope they all come true for you in 2011.

  16. Hey Eleni --
    Another fan of smart goals! It is *so* important your goals are relevant to you -- far too many people want to do things to please others, not themselves.

    All the best with your 2011 goals, I hope they all work out!

  17. Anna, I don't usually make resolutions, but this year I have -- to go to Toastmasters, which I find an incredibly scary thought! Other than that, I have various goals, which I hope are all SMART!

  18. Very good advice Anna

    I don't usually make resolutions I just try to have a happy and fun year and find the time to fit as much reading in as I can LOL

    Have Fun

  19. Hi Emily --
    Best of luck with Toastmasters!! I remember doing it when I was at high school and had a blast. I am one of those people who love talking in front of a crowd...never used to be though. I really think it is a skill you can learn. And I hope your 2011 smart goals all work out!

  20. Hi Helen --
    A happy and fun year sounds like a great resolution to me (-: I never need to set a goal to fit reading in -- it's the one thing I *always* can find the time for.

    Hope you find lots of great books to read in 2011!

  21. Great post Anna - very smart. :)

    I haven't set any goals yet - I'm still on holidays and can't bend my brain that direction at the moment - but I imagine they will involve more consistent blogging, more consistent writing and more reading! Sounds lovely, doesn't it! :)

    All the very best for 2011, E x

  22. Hi Em --
    I think those goals can wait until your holidays are over...but don't worry, I'll be bugging you to set some smart ones (-:

    Hope you have a wonderful 2011!