JS Tip 456: Setting Goals for the New Year

From the Time Management Workshops: Using SMART Goals

We talked about this five years ago; it’s worth another look. 

We often use the end of the year to plan. Make resolutions. Identify goals.  

One approach is to set goals that are—

  • Specific: Identify exactly what you want to accomplish: “I want to be smarter” is woefully too general. “I want to read some classics of Western literature” is more specific.

    Measurable: Use numbers—counts, percentages, and ratios: “I’ll read one classic novel each month in 2018.”

    Attainable: Choose a goal that’s achievable but challenging: One book a month? I can do that. It won’t be easy, but I can do that. Moby Dick may be tough.   

    Relevant: Your goals should matter to you. They shouldn’t be imposed from outside unless you agree and support them: This is something I need to do, something I want to do.  

    Timely: Identify time frames. Start points. End points. Review points: On April 1st, I’ll review my progress and, if necessary, adjust my goals. Three months and three books should be a good trial period.  

Some Background: We’re not crazy about cute acronyms, but some people call these SMART goals. SMART goals began in a 1981 Management Reviewarticle by George Duran: “There’s a SMART Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives.” A Google search for “SMART goals” gets over two million hits.  

Happy New Year. Have a good year. We appreciate you.


Mark Brooks