Are Your New Year’s Resolutions SMART?

Measurable Goal

Kudos to you if you are still keeping up with your New Year’s resolutions! But most people who make New Year’s resolutions aren’t keeping them by month’s end.

Why? They weren’t SMART!

What are SMART goals?


M - Measurable

A - Attainable



Specific - Your goals should be as detailed and specific as possible.  It’s not enough to say you have a goal of saving lots of money.  You need to give it a figure like “I will save $3000 this year.”  Without specifics you are just floating out there.  If you only say your goal is to save then did you achieve your goal by putting fifty cents in a jar?  Didn’t accomplish much with that.

Measurable - To continue with the savings example, how will you get that $3000?  In one lump sum?  Or perhaps in measurable terms like “I will save $250 a month.  This will be $125 from each of my pay periods in the monthly.”  Being able to measure your progress will help you move along in your goal.

Attainable - Can you achieve this goal?  Will you be able to break it up into smaller achievements that will add up to the goal?  In our example we save $125 per paycheck in order to attain the big goal of $ 3000 in savings for the year.


Realistic - Do you believe your goal can be reached?  For our example you have to be able to save $250 a month.  If you currently only save about $50 a month then you either have to figure out a way to squeeze out more savings or you might need to make your goal more realistic.  When a goal is unrealistic you’ll become frustrated before long and give up the goal.

Time-Bound – Give yourself a pre-determined time frame for your goal.  Back to out example – It’s great to want to save $3000 but it’s very different to do that in year and to do it in ten years.

The SMART system is a great guideline for you to set goals with.  Ask yourself if your New Year’s resolutions are SMART.  If they are you have a much better chance of accomplishing them!

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Published or updated December 11, 2014.


  1. Is there an abbreviation for Dumb? I’m pretty sure that I follow that one.

    James’s last blog post..Tax Season: Tax Deductions

    • @ James – Haha. Would you believe there is though? D – Doable U – Understandable M – Manageable B – Beneficial. DUMB. I was always fond of KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid. Kinda reminds me to not over complicate things.

  2. I agree with your acronym and the definitions for being SMART with your resolutions.

    I work with people in debt all the time and I hear things like, “my resolution will be to pay off these high interest cards”. But they aren’t SMART about it and year after year they become deeper in the struggle with debt.

    Great advice for anyone serious about their resolutions, or any goal in general.

  3. Great advice you hear all the time but can’t hear enough. My goals are more small but would like to accomplish them, hopefully I am being SMART with them.

    • @ Craig – It doesn’t matter how big or small your goals are. Implemented correctly you can accomplish all of them!

  4. Love this! A reminder that we really can accomplish almost anything if we put our minds to it — and make a plan.

    Miranda’s last blog post..Financial News: U.S. Deficit Likely to Hit $1.2 Trillion

    • @ Miranda – There you go! It’s not just that we want something to happen but that we put a real plan in place for it to happen.

  5. Eliminate Debt Blog says:

    This is where I failed last year. I did not set goals that I could realistically achieve and never made them measurable.

    I learned a lot in 2008 that I will now start to implement. This year will be the year I remembered I got rid of my debt.

  6. Here is another acronym for DUMB. I had to laugh a little bit when I saw it. I didn’t know there were so many.

    James’s last blog post..Tax Season: Tax Deductions

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