Forget Your New Year’s Resolutions and Focus on SMART Goals Instead

It usually doesn’t take long for New Year’s resolutions to be broken. In fact, Psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert contends that most people fail at their new year’s resolutions because the resolutions are not specific enough. If you want to lose weight, for instance, create a goal with a specific number. This increases the odds of attaining that goal.

Let’s be real, most of us set goals at the beginning of the year that are vague, unrealistic, and not very specific. we was to “exercise more” or “eat healthier” or finally “start our own business”. According to NBCNews about 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February every year!

What can we do to increase the likelihood that we will stick to our goals?

Whether our goals are personal or business-related. Whether we want to lose a few pounds or start our own business, the experts say we have to create SMART Goals!

SMART goals were created in 1981 as a tool to help improve the chances of actually accomplishing a goal. They help set you up for success by pushing you further with your vision, by giving  you a sense of direction, and by helping you organize your goals & objectives, whether they are personal or business-related, so you have a better chance of reaching them.

So, what are SMART goals? SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based.

Be specific about what you want to accomplish. Focus on the who, what, and where of your goal. Make sure it’s not vague.  For instance, “More sales” is not a SMART goal. Instead, try something more specific like “increase sales conversions from our live webinar”.

Measure what really matters to you. Make sure your goals have an objective indicator of success. This provides a tangible way to measure progress. For instance, if we add an objective performance indicator to our example from above, it would read : “improve sales conversion rates from our live webinar by 20%”. Measuring progress allows you to track your goals and stay focused

Make your goals realistic and attainable. Using our example, if the current conversion rate from the live webinar is 14%, attaining a goal of 20% sounds reasonable. Think about whether you  have the necessary skills to accomplish this goal. If you think you don’t, find people who do.

Focus your goals on what would be impactful to you. If improving the sales conversions from your live webinar means more people will have access to your life-changing product, it becomes meaningful and impactful. It also helps grow the business. These are all meaningful results.


Set a reasonable deadline for your SMART goals. Back to our example, “ By June 1, 2021 I will improve sales conversion rates from our live webinar by 20%”.

It’s ok to revisit your SMART goals every few months and adjust them. You’ll learn what works and what doesn’t as you move forward. SMART goals can be fluid, as long as they are not forgotten. So before you beat yourself up for failing to keep your New Year’s resolutions, replace them with SMART goals

SMART goals has recently become the gold standard for setting goals. There are templates to help create SMART goals. You can find one HERE or search on Google for a template that you like.  So, before you beat yourself up for failing to keep your New Year’s resolutions, replace them with SMART goals.

Happy New Year!



Sean Wise headshot

About the Author

Dr. Sean Wise

Dr. Sean Wise is a best-selling author, venture capitalist, award-winning entrepreneurship professor and serial entrepreneur. He spent two decades in the venture capital industry, specializing in supporting high-growth ventures at the seed stage. Dr. Wise was named Mentor of the Year by Startup Canada in 2014. He has written six books and hundreds of articles on entrepreneurship, with work appearing on or in Forbes, CNBC, CNN Financial, The New York Times, Fox News. and the Globe and Mail.

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