get SMART about your new yearNow is the time of year people work on setting their New Year’s resolutions, deciding to quit smoking, lose weight, get out of debt, find a husband, or any number of other resolutions.  Yet it turns out that those who come up with resolutions may be doomed to failure. In fact, according to one survey,  88% of people who make New Year’s resolutions fail at them.

So what can you do if you do not want to be part of that 88%? You can get SMART about your resolutions. Randi Raskin Nash, a career coach of the Institute for Coaching defines SMART goals as being Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.  The idea behind SMART goals and resolutions is that it is not enough to simply wish that you would like to lose weight. You need to have a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goal behind the resolution. Otherwise, it is just wishful thinking.

Here are some ways you can make your New Year’s resolutions SMART:

Setting a specific resolution

Let’s suppose your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. What is a specific amount you want to lose? Is it five pounds, fifty pounds, a hundred pounds? Think about what you can realistically lose in one year, keeping in mind that realistically, most doctors recommend that you lose no more than two pounds a week.

Making your goal measurable

Here is something Nash suggests you ask yourself when it comes to setting the “measurable” part of your New Year’s resolution – “How will I know I’m on track, how will I know I’ve succeeded?” The career coach says that if your goal is to find a new job, you should ask what are measurable steps you can take to succeed at that resolution. How many resumes you can send out in a week, and how many networking contacts you can make are measurable things you can do to contribute to achieving your goal.

Make your resolution attainable

Do not set yourself up for failure by making your resolution too difficult or unrealistic. For example, vowing to look 20 years younger is not a realistic goal, unless perhaps you have a plastic surgeon on speed dial. What can be attainable are things like taking steps to take better care of your body, getting a makeover, and getting help with your fashion sense.

How to make resolutions that are relevant to you

Nash says that “If you’re going to take the time to set SMART goals for yourself, personally or professionally, make sure they’re really on point, really focused on what’s important to you.” The career coach explains that this means making sure these are your goals – not your spouse’s goals for your New Year’s resolutions, or your parents’ goals, or your manager’s goals. If your resolutions are based on pleasing another person, they are doomed to failure. The only way you can change is if you want to change for your own reasons, not others.

Why time-bound SMART goals are important

It is very easy to procrastinate when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. Without a time-bound schedule for your goals, you may never get them done. So come up with a schedule to achieve your resolutions. If your goal is to save $10,000 in 2014, you will need to save $833.33 a month, or approximately $192.30 a week. Breaking the resolution out to smaller parts is more likely to lead to success.

So why not get SMART about your New Year’s resolutions, and give this system a try? Good luck. Let us know how it goes!