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FEATURE - January 2017 - Kansas City

Transform Resolutions into Reality with SMART Goals 

by Julie Connor Ed.D.


If there is a resolution that’s begging for your attention and desire to pursue it on January 1st, it’s urging to articulate your resolution as a goal and to create a plan you can follow through with action. Once you clearly state your resolution as a goal, you can plan how to successfully transform the resolution into a habit. Resolutions without a goal are like arrows without a target. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you can concentrate your efforts into a specific direction.


Express your commitment to your resolution in writing. Lee Iacocca, former Chrysler CEO, explained, “The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.”


Stephen Covey, insisted that the act of writing goals puts things into motion. “Your mind accepts the challenge and will consciously and unconsciously work to achieve the goal,” said Covey. “The momentum picks up if you tell someone your goal. The act of stating your goal creates a sense of accountability for its completion.”


Write a SMART resolution. A SMART goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. The act of creating a SMART goal packs your resolution with power and sets you on a course headed towards success. Consider the following questions as you construct a SMART New Year’s resolution:

  • Specific– What do I want to accomplish? Why do I want to accomplish it? What are the benefits? Who is involved? Where will it be accomplished?

  • Measurable– What costs are involved? How will I know when it is accomplished? What tools will I use to measure progress? What targets will I establish as I progress towards my resolution? What is my final goal?

  • Attainable– How can my resolution be accomplished? Is it action-oriented? What knowledge and skills are needed to reach this goal? Do I have a plan?

  • Realistic– Am I the right person to pursue this goal? Is there a need for successful completion of this goal? Is this the right time?

  • Time-bound– When will this happen? How often? Is there a time frame for me to reach my goal? What is the completion date? What will I do within the next six months to reach my goal? Within the next six weeks? Today?

Here are additional tips to consider as you compose an explosive New Year’s resolution:

Set objective performance resolutions. As you write goals, use action verbs that can be observed and measured as opposed to abstract and subjective goals. Rather than stating, “Lose weight,” say, “I walk one mile on a treadmill every morning.”


Set priorities. Prioritizing tasks protects you from feeling overwhelmed and anxious by focusing your attention on important choices and activities that are directly connected to your goals. Clarify your priorities so you can make best use of your time.


Be precise. Include dates, times, and measurable amounts so you can track your progress. Rather than stating, “Write my book,” say, “I commit to a daily writing practice of 15 minutes every day, 8:00-8:15 p.m.”


Arrange time in your schedule to take action. Finding creative ways to fit specific tasks aligned with your resolution into your schedule takes work and effort. Consider how much time you have within a 24-hour period that can be devoted to tasks that will help you meet your goals.


Those who clearly define their New Year’s resolutions are 10 times more likely to reach their goals than those with nebulous, unspecific statements (Journal of Clinical Psychology, 2013). Approximately 75% of those who commit to a New Year’s goal continue to experience success by January 7th. Only 46% remain committed to their goal six months later.


We become who we want to become by acting as the success we want to be each day. Allow the vision of who you want to be to transform you into the person you want to become. Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, maintained, “What the mind of man can conceive, it can achieve.” Make a commitment to yourself and to your resolution.


Make this year your year to celebrate your success.


What are your New Year’s Resolutions?



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Julie Connor, Ed.D., is a speaker, educator, and leadership consultant. She prepares youth to be leaders and adults to be mentors throughout the country. Julie provides tools to transform dreams into action with attainable goals. Dr. Connor is the author of the award-winning goal-setting book, Dreams to Action Trailblazer’s Guide.

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