Notebook with list of goals

How to Set SMART Goals in the New Year

New Year’s resolutions can easily become a double-edged sword. It’s great to aspire toward better health in the new year, but without a clear, focused goal your aspirations can quickly feel unattainable and unrealistic. By transforming your goal into a SMART goal, you can put yourself on a path toward success.

Specific and Measurable

One reason many New Year’s resolutions aren’t seen to completion is because they’re vague. You may resolve to get in better shape or to set better eating habits, but without specifying precisely what that means, it can be difficult to take steps toward that goal.

When your goal is more specific, you can set metrics by which to measure your success. Take the vague goal of “less screen time.” You can make it more specific by saying you’d like to spend less time on your tablet. Add a layer of measurability. Tell yourself you can spend an hour less on your tablet each day.


Another reason many New Year’s resolutions aren’t followed through is because they are so grand in scale that they may feel impossible to accomplish. If you want to lose 40 pounds, it can be discouraging if you don’t see huge results immediately. Making your goal achievable can keep your expectations in check and help you set your sights on a smaller milestone that puts you on the path toward your larger goal.

Making your goal achievable also helps you think about how to realistically meet it. If you want to lose 40 pounds, you can accomplish that goal in any number of ways. Some might seem quick and easy. Others might be more intentional. Talk to your doctor about healthy weight loss options and discuss how much time you should give yourself to achieve sustainable, healthy weight.

Keep your goal achievable, and you’ll know what steps you have to take to accomplish it.

Relevant and Time-Bound

To keep your goal relevant, ask yourself “Why do I want to achieve this goal?” If it’s just because you feel social pressure to do so, you may have a difficult time seeing it through. By keeping your goal relevant to your life—like creating a training schedule to prepare for a mini-marathon—you can become personally invested in accomplishing it.

Finally, setting a deadline makes your goal time-bound. This helps keep you on track, knowing that there is a set date by which you feel you can succeed. Again, try to be realistic about your timeline. Making slow but steady progress and incremental steps is the key to achieving many health goals. Stay positive and stay motivated!

SMART Goal tips


By making your goal a SMART goal, you’ll set yourself up for a healthier new year. Read more tips on setting healthy New Year’s resolutions.