I can’t believe there are only two days left in 2016. It seems as though the year FLEW by and we’re all staring 2017 in the face…regardless of if we’re ready or not. As is typical of this time of the year, I’ve started contemplating the things I’d like to accomplish in 2017. A lot of people, myself included, tend to make over zealous New Year’s resolutions that they work on for several weeks and then forget all about. This year I’m going to use something I learned in graduate school to hopefully create goals for 2017 that I actually complete.

It's time to bid 2016 farewell and look ahead to the new year! Check out these tips to help you set S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2017

In almost all of my grad school classes we were reminded of the importance of setting S.M.A.R.T. objectives. For those that may be unfamiliar with the acronym, it stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe all 5 are important, however, there are three that are imperative to if you are creating goals for 2017. For the purposes of clarity I’m going to use the goal of weight loss as an example to illustrate how to incorporate specificity, measurability, and realism into your goals.

  1. Specific – People often make the mistake of setting general goals. They say things like “I’m going to eat better” or “I will lose weight”. Instead, you should be intentional and specific when setting goals. An easy way to this is to include HOW you are going to accomplish the goal. For instance, I will lose weight 10 pounds by April 1st by only eating fast food once every other week and exercising at least 3 times each week. This is VERY specific and gives you a clear plan of action for how you will lose weight in the new year.
  2. Measurable – You have to be able to gauge your progress to know if you’re actually achieving your goal! Weight loss is one of the easier goals to track as you can simply step on the scale and see if there have been any changes. However, if your goal is something along the lines of “eat better” (notice the lack of specificity), how are you going to measure that? Going back to our specific goal above, you can easily measure this in many ways: You can weigh yourself, you can count the number of times you have fast food and go to the gym/exercise.
  3. Realistic – Now I’m not here to tell anyone what they can or cannot accomplish in the New Year. However, I do think it’s important that we are being realistic with our expectations. If your plan is to lose weight, it isn’t reasonable to expect that you will lose 10 pounds in a healthy manner within the first two weeks. While I know that I want to shed a few pounds in 2017, I also know I can’t survive without Chinese food every other week and that sometimes I have a craving for pizza that turns me into a monster until I get it. I’m being realistic in admitting that I can’t only have fast food twice a month. This means I’ll need to add some extra workouts so counter all the calories in my not so guilty pleasures…and I’m okay with that. The true key to setting realistic goals is to be honest with yourself.

Time-based seems inappropriate to include because it is implied that you will be working on your goals throughout the new year. I decided to forgo achievable as well because I believe we should all push ourselves a bit. In my opinion, deciding whether or not your New Year’s resolution is achievable before you’ve even started trying creates self-doubt.

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Got any goals for 2017?

It’s time for another Thursday Three Link Up. Who doesn’t love sharing lists on their blogs?? I co-host this link up with two other awesome bloggers. Whether it’s 3 reasons you love your husband, 3 things you hate about graduate school, or 3 awesome birthday gift ideas, the Thursday Three Link Up is a place where you can share your posts and interact with other bloggers. Create an amazing post listing three things of your choosing and link up on Royalty in Reality or LiveLifeWell each and every Thursday!


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19 comments on “3 Tips for Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals for 2017”

  1. Great tips if the goal is not precise how can you gauge your progress? If it is unattainable to begin with you’ll be lucky if you make it past the first few days. I also think people almost feel they need to make a resolution and in actually you don’t really need to. Hek pick the 1st day of the month. It doesn’t have to start the first of the year.

  2. YES! Those 3 points are so right! I feel like we always set ourselves up for failure when it comes to resolutions by setting goals that are completely ridiculous and then we beat ourselves up when we can’t attain them! We need to set realistic goals so we can measure how we are progressing with achieving them!


  3. I used to be a person who list down lots of goals, and ended up not even target near one (hahaha) i know imaybe i did wrong but its okay. I learned a lot. Now I set goals one at a time. No pressure 🙂

  4. I’m a special education teacher and we are always required to write IEP goals for our students in a “SMART” way. In order to truly measure the progress in an effective way. I think we should set goals for ourselves this way too! Great post!

  5. I loved this and it can be applied to any goal you have! I have quite a few goals for the year but need to sit down and work on my action plans. No better time than this weekend!

  6. These are great tips. I use SMART goal setting with my clients and it makes such a difference in helping people to set goals in a way that they can actually follow through with them. Happy New Year!


  7. We talk about S.M.A.R.T. goals at work a lot, but I never through about implementing them into my New Year’s goals! I”m going to work on that today! 🙂 Happy new year!

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