How to Make SMART Goals (and How They Differ From Resolutions)

Has anyone broken a New Year’s Resolution yet? I shared recently why I believe New Year’s Resolutions don’t work. I also promised to write about SMART goals. What are SMART goals? Like self-care GRAPES, SMART is an acronym.

SMART goals (acronym)

S = Specific

How many people choose broad goals that aren’t specific at all? If you are serious about manifesting change, take the time to picture what specifically it would look like. The more detail the better. Are your goals straightforward? Specifics help us focus our efforts and clearly define what we are going to do. WHAT are you going to do? WHY is this important? HOW are you going to do it?

M = Measurable

As you make your goal more specific, try to come up with a measurable quantity of change. For example, instead of saying, “I want to lose weight,” try “I want to lose x number of pounds a month for the next 3 months.” Instead of saying, “I want to see friends more,” set a goal of “I will plan and attend one girl’s night out a month.” Being able to measure our goal also makes it easier to evaluate how we are doing. Choose progress points so you can see change occur. This helps you know when you have reached your goal. These targets help you feel achievement in working towards a long-term goal.

A = Achievable

“A” stands for achievable or attainable. Is your goal something that is within your power? Are you setting yourself up for failure? You need to identify ways that you can make your goal come true. Goals that are out of reach will be too overwhelming and you may lose your commitment. A goal needs to stretch you slightly, but not overwhelm you.

R = Realistic

This does not mean “easy,” but rather “do-able.” It should encourage new skills and knowledge without breaking you. Set the bar high enough for satisfying achievement.

T = Timely

Set a timeframe or benchmarks so you have targets to work towards. The commitment cannot be vague, it needs some urgency. Rather than set a goal for 2015, maybe consider monthly or quarterly benchmarks.

How to Make SMART Goals

And remember, be SMART, but also have fun! Is this goal something you are passionate about? Will it be rewarding? What will be the potential benefit if you achieve it? Staying focused on the rewards can help keep you motivated!

Happy 2015!! For more inspiration on getting started, see my post on creating a 2015 Vision Board.

Share your SMART goals in the comments. Sharing with another person creates accountability!

San Diego Therapist Free ConsultAbigail Burd, LCSW, is a licensed psychotherapist and life coach in San Diego, California, specializing in helping adult women achieve healthy, happy and fulfilling lives.

By | 2016-11-01T21:48:42+00:00 January 19th, 2015|Categories: Blog, Mental Wellness|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

About the Author:

Abigail Burd, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist practicing in San Diego. (CA lic #LCS26867.) Specialties include maternal mental health, parenting, addiction, depression/anxiety and personal growth. Abby is experienced providing counseling to others in the helping fields, college students, and graduate students.

One Comment

  1. JENNIFER January 19, 2015 at 8:15 pm - Reply

    This is a great way to think about resolutions. I haven’t set any yet…maybe now I will!

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