Are Your Goals Smart?

Don’t you just love a brand new year?!  I do because it’s like a sort of fresh start and this usually means making New Year’s Resolutions.  What are your New Year Resolutions?  Or better yet, what are your goals and objectives for the new year?

I used to make resolutions but guess what? I never stuck with them so I stopped making them.  Unfortunately, this is the case for most people.  The good intentions are there but most people will break their resolutions by the end of January.  This is why you see the health clubs packed with people in January resolving to lose weight but then come February, most are nowhere to be seen.

So, instead of making new year’s resolutions, I recommend that you do away with that and instead write goals and objectives instead.   As you know, one of the most important steps to achieving your goals is to actually put them in writing.  Without writing your goals down and putting together a plan to achieve them, they can remain intentions and ideals that are never realized.

What’s equally important is making sure that your goals meet the SMART criteria to be the most effective.

If you haven’t written down your goals and objectives yet this year, there is no time like the present to get this done and below is the SMART criteria to help you develop them.  And if already have, Good for you!, take a review and make sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

Here’s the SMART criteria…


For best results, your goals should be straightforward and emphasize what you want to accomplish so you want to ensure that your goals are very clear and specific.  Specifics help you focus your efforts and clearly define what you are going to do.

Specific is the What, Why, and How of the SMART model.

  • WHAT are you going to do? Use action words to describe.
  • WHY is this important to do at this time? What do you want to ultimately accomplish?
  • HOW are you going to do it?


If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Choose a goal with measurable progress, so you can see the change occur. How will you know you reached your goals? Be specific! “I will lose 30 pounds by June 1st” shows the specific target to be measured. “I want to lose weight” is not as measurable.

Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and gain momentum, motivation and satisfaction that comes with that achievement that will spur you on to the continued effort required.


When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. Goals you set which are too far out of your reach, you probably won’t commit to doing. Although you may start with the best of intentions, the knowledge that it’s too much for you means your subconscious will keep reminding you of this fact and will stop you before you even really get started.

A goal needs to stretch you slightly but you must also feel you can do it and it will need a real commitment from you. For instance, if you aim to lose 20lbs in one week, we all know that isn’t achievable.  But setting a goal to lose 1 or 2 pounds a week will keep it achievable for you.


Devise a plan or a way of getting there which makes the goal realistic. The goal needs to be realistic for you and where you are at the moment.  Be sure to set goals that you can attain with some effort! Too difficult and you set the stage for failure, but too low sends the message that you aren’t very capable.


Set a time frame for the goal: for next week, in three months, year-end, etc.  Putting an end point on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards.

If you don’t set a time, the commitment is too vague. It tends not to happen because you feel you can start at any time. Without a time limit, there’s no urgency to start taking action now.

There you have it.  I hope this was helpful in ensuring that you’re goals are written in a way that will be most effective.

Now, get to work on achieving those goals and remember to “Eat that elephant one bite at a time” and keep revisiting, documenting your progress (don’t forget to pat yourself on the back every now and then too – Very Important!!) and even tweaking if need be along the way.  Inch-by-inch, day-by-day, you can do ANYTHING!!!

Wishing you a Very Happy and Prosperous 2011 and beyond.

To Your Success!

Laura Paulson

Laura is a digital marketer and entrepreneur building assets that spin off passive residual income. She created the Marketing Training Portal with 'Quick Hits' Marketing Tips Blog and Newsletter to help fellow entrepreneurs sort through all the noise and information overload for real-world, actionable tactics and strategies to put into action to accelerate their business growth.

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Beverly Monical - 7 years ago Reply

I was sitting down to write my goals and decided to do my TSA work and I am so glad I did.This has helped me so much.Great post and great tips. Thanks Laura.
Beverly Monical ..Why Do You Work From Home

LauraPaulson Reply:

@Beverly Monical, Good deal. I hope it was helpful Beverly

Dr. Erica Goodstone - 7 years ago Reply

We can’t be reminded enough to set the tone and the goals for the new years. This year I was so inspired that I started my first blogtalkradio show on January 2, 2011. I talked about having gratitude for what we already have, setting intentions for the new year and also visualizing our goals already achieved, as if the date is 12/31/11 and we can look back. There is great power in that because it helps you to actually see yourself having achieved the goals and to realize what steps it took to get there. Sort of a mind trick for really going after your dreams in the new year. The radio show is at
Dr. Erica Goodstone ..Now More Than Ever Baby Boomers Are Retiring

LauraPaulson Reply:

@Dr. Erica Goodstone, Hi Erica. Awesome! I’ll definitely check it out. I especially like what you said about visualization – that is SOOO powerful!!!! And taking the time to reflect back on what we’ve already accomplished is key as well. Thanks, Laura

Dr. Erica Goodstone - 7 years ago Reply

In my previous comment I had somehow clicked on the wrong website. I did not write that article about baby boomers retiring. My site is Just wanted to clarify.
Dr. Erica Goodstone ..Healthy Living In The New Year

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Monick Halm - 7 years ago Reply

Hey Laura,

I love the quote “A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.” The advice you gave is helpful to make sure that your goals go in one year and come out a habit and an accomplishment.

Thanks for sharing.

Monick Halm ..On Job Satisfaction

LauraPaulson Reply:

@Monick Halm, Thanks Monick!

Trish Kirby - 7 years ago Reply

Hi Laura,

Thank you for such a great post on setting goals and very timely too. I like how you said to write “I will lose 20lbs” instead of “I want to lose 20lbs” I wrote out my list of goals for this year but need to change some “I wants” to “I wills”

Looking forward to your next post.

God Bless,
Trish Kirby
Trish Kirby ..Ask and you will receive…

Janette Stoll - 7 years ago Reply

Hi Laura,

Great tips on setting goals! I especially like what you said that if you don’t set a time you feel as if you can start anytime. There needs to be a sense of urgency otherwise you get into the ‘I’ll start tomorrow’. Goals help us to stay focused and keep us accountable especially if you make a point of looking at them every day.

Thank you for the inspiration.

Janette Stoll

Jorge Vazquez - 7 years ago Reply

Success means you have to set goals and take the necessary actions to make your goals happen. Ans setting goals to reach success is like climbing a mountain. Thanks for sharing this tips Laura.

LauraPaulson Reply:

@Jorge Vazquez, Bingo! 🙂 Thanks Jorge

Mattgeib - 7 years ago Reply


great post as we are still at the beginning of this year. I have always loved the ‘SMART’ goals acronym…& the idea of expressing descriptive words for you goals as there (In my mind) must be REAL Passion attached to a Dream/Goal.

Matt Geib The Great

LauraPaulson Reply:

@Mattgeib, I agree Matt. Thanks for the comment.

Maggie Lancy - 7 years ago Reply

Excellent information.

You are so right on.
You give some great tips to achieve what you want in life.
Thanks for sharing.

LauraPaulson Reply:

@Maggie Lancy, Hey Maggie, thanks!

karin - 7 years ago Reply

I did exactly what you outlined in your blog post. I had a great year last year, not in the least because I did set goals and objectives. This year, I asked myself the question “if there are no boundaries to what you can accomplish, what would your goal be”. I took my answer and thought how I could come closest to making the impossible happen. My answer was to hire a coach, which I have done. The results are simply amazing. Not even 1 month into it, I am already much further along than I ever dreamed possible. I highly recommend it!
karin ..7 Facebook promotion strategies

LauraPaulson Reply:

@karin, That is so awesome Karin! Good for you! Just think how much more we can accomplish when we think in those terms “no boundaries”. Thanks for sharing

peterchapman - 7 years ago Reply

Hi Laura
I am like you. I love the time of year between Christmas and New Year. A time for goal setting.
Your post is hugely informative about how to go about – being SMART is the key!
I have set big goals this year – probably the biggest goals of my life.
If we stretch ourselves, be bold and adventurous we can create and do anything we can imagine!
I wish you all the very best with your goals this year, Laura.

peterchapman ..Happy Anniversary petechapmanblogcom

LauraPaulson Reply:

@peterchapman, Well said Peter!

Dr. Adam Sheck - 6 years ago Reply

Thanks for sharing the SMART protocol, I agree with you, it IS the best way to organize your goals. In fact, when I do couples counseling, I have my couples create a Shared Relationship Vision and have them use SMART to implement it. AND, of course, it’s time for me to organize my goals for the year, so thanks for the reminder 😉
Take care,
Dr. Adam Sheck ..Does The 80-20 Rule Apply To Relationships

Alyssa - 6 years ago Reply


Thank you for this post. Goals and objectives give focus to my life and assure rather than demoralize me.


Marlon Acosta - 6 years ago Reply

Hi Laura,

Great post! I must admit this has happened to me. I have the goal in my mind but if I didn’t right it down I soon forget what I wanted to achieve. If a goal is not written down then I guess it becomes a fad. We all know what happens with fads, they go away. Thanks for putting a great outline on how to have a strategy when setting up your goals.

Take care,


Lori Robertson - 6 years ago Reply


Great tips, I took the time to write out my goals and the time frame to complete them and I have already started checking them off as I complete them. This lets me know that I am on the right track.

Lori Robertson ..Why Do People Quit And Give Up So Easily

Kevin Martineau - 6 years ago Reply

Hi Laura:

I am a big fan of making goals and writing them down. I have the SMART acronymn!

Have a great day!
Kevin Martineau ..5 ways to beat the winter blues

Hazel-Ann La Fortune - 6 years ago Reply

Laura, it’s so important to write down goals. The act of setting it to paper gives it added importance. Personally, I’m more likely to pay attention to something I’ve written down, so it’s my practice to write down everything I want to do. One thing that’s been helpful to me is to make sure I give priority to the most important tasks. They’re always at the top of my to-do list. that way I’m sure that I’m doing something to further my business every day.
Hazel-Ann La Fortune ..Politics vs Leadership In A Country School

Julieanne van Zyl - 6 years ago Reply

Hi Laura, I like having a detailed plan for my goals, that way I take action and know exactly what to do. When I don’t have a plan, I often forget the goal and of course you know what happens then:-)

Have a great weekend! Julieanne
Julieanne van Zyl ..Easily create your own lead capture page templates

Marc Korn - 6 years ago Reply

Hi Laura,

Thanks for sharing this important post about the proper techniques for Goal Setting, which is one of my favorite topics.

You have provided 5 critical criteria to goal setting..

Setting goals can be stimulating and very rewarding when they are achieved. Even when you are faced with a task that seems impossible, if you set a goal and break it down into smaller steps…you will be amazed how easily you can achieve your goal.

Like you said…“Eat that elephant one bite at a time”

As long as you “Take Action” and incorporate your goals and tasks into your DAILY routine, it will become habit and you will achieve success in life and in business.

To your continued success,
Marc Korn ..FREE Brian Tracy Webinar 3 Keys to Harnessing the Power of Personal Achievement

jans - 6 years ago Reply

Hi Laura,

I really appreciate this great post on setting your goals. I think all of the points you stated here are all important and play a role in achieving your goals for this. It doesn’t hurt to have something set out there for you to look forward to.

Thanks for sharing this.

jans ..Are you struggling to find topics to blog about

Loren Greig - 6 years ago Reply

Hi Laura!

Thanks for posting this great reminder! I agree that writing out our goals and objectives is so much more productive than resolutions that often fall by the wayside! I love the SMART criteria for creating specific, meaningful and real goals that we can realistically attain and keep measuring so ensure our productivity and success! Thanks again Laura for taking the time to share this important information. Loren

LauraPaulson Reply:

@Loren Greig, Hi Loren, thanks for the comment. Yes, of course, I agree. Setting SMART goals is so much more productive.

Glyna Humm - 6 years ago Reply

Laura – This is such an awesome post! I like the idea of setting goals instead of resolutions. I think they will last longer and thank you for the tips on how to make them “smart”. Those are great rules to follow! Thanks for sharing!
Glyna Humm ..Appreciation Marketing – A Must Read For Home Business Owners!

Barbara Harnsbeger - 6 years ago Reply

Hello Laura,
Great post and something we all need to do. Every year I make goals and I do not always follow all of them but I like you message..Now, get to work on achieving those goals and remember to “Eat that elephant one bite at a time” and keep revisiting, documenting your progress (don’t forget to pat yourself on the back every now and then too – Very Important!!)

Thank you for sharing this information.


Jaden Daniels - 6 years ago Reply

I am one for setting goals. I was one of these who used to make resolutions and fail by the end of January, but now goals are much different in my mind. Plus, I set my goals (just like you said) attainable, and that pat on the back feels pretty rewarding.


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