Are you setting any New Year’s resolutions? This year’s trend seems to be that no one wants to make any resolutions. Mostly because they don’t want to feel bad when they inevitably break them. Apparently, New Year’s resolutions are the hardest promises to keep.

In Business Mastery, Cherie tells us “there is no such thing as an inappropriate goal, just a faulty time frame.” Which got me thinking—maybe the problem isn’t with setting resolutions, maybe the problem is that the resolutions you are setting aren’t SMART enough.

I propose setting up your New Year’s resolutions just like you set goals for yourself. There is a proven format that works.

SMARTER New Year’s Resolutions

Specific – Is your resolution specific enough? If your goal is to get healthy, define “healthy.” What does it look like? How does it feel? You need to be specific.

Measurable – How will you know when you have achieved success? Do you want to lose weight? How much? By when? Do you want to eat healthy meals? How many each week/month? You need to set real numbers so you can know if you are meeting that goal week-by-week or month-by-month or by a specific date (like by the end of the year, for example).

Attainable – If you really want to fly to the moon, and you are not already an astronaut and part of NASA, is a 2018 time frame possible? Your resolutions should be something that is actually possible for anyone to attain within the parameters you set for yourself.

Realistic – Also, make your resolution something you can reasonable do yourself without needing someone else to do something miraculous on your behalf. If your resolution is dependent on the actions of others, you are less likely to make it your own.

Timelined – By definition, a New Year’s resolution should be accomplished within the year, so your timeline is already set.

Enthusiastic – Choose resolutions that inspire you. If you’re setting resolutions you “should” do, you’ll never be motivated enough to do them. You have to set resolutions you actually want to do and are excited about accomplishing.

Rewarding – Plan to reward yourself when you accomplish your goal. If it’s something that you will be doing all year, plan to reward yourself each step of the way—maybe a monthly date with yourself to an art museum or the zoo or catch a matinee.

Use these additional tips from the goal setting section in Business Mastery:

  • Always state your goals in the positive PRESENT TENSE. If you write in the future, they may remain in the future—never attained.
  • Personalize your goals: use a pronoun (e.g., I, we, they, “your name”) in every sentence.
  • Don’t use the terms “try,” “will,” “not,” “never,” “should,” “would,” “could,” and “want.”

Remember, the process of setting resolutions (or any goals) should be fun.

And Happy New Year to you!