SMART Goal Setting for the New Year

We are starting to count down the days until exams and school are over for the year, 2023 is quickly approaching and the New Year resolution ideas are flooding in. We need to make sure that we are setting attainable and realistic goals for ourselves. Setting goals for yourself with no specific aim, that are unrealistic, or are too vague can be detrimental to your overall mental and physical health. Not reaching your predicted goals can cause a sense of failure, creating high self-criticism, de-motivation, low self-esteem, poor sense of self, negative thinking, and codependency. One or more of these issues can cause depression and anxiety in oneself to rise and potentially become harmful and irreparable. However, there is a way to set goals that can be attenable and achievable while being proactive and keeping your mental and physical health in mind, using the SMART method. The SMART method allows you to plan and organize your considerations and ambitions in an organized and well thought out manner, pushing for success in reaching your personal goals.

SMART goal setting:


A specific goal should answer these five questions:

  • What exactly do I want to achieve?
  • Why – specific reasons, purpose, or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
  • Who is involved?
  • Where – identify a location.
  • Which restrictions or limits are important to consider?


A measurable goal will answer:

  • How much or how many?
  • How will I know when it is accomplished?


An achievable goal will answer the question:

  • How can this goal be accomplished?


A relevant goal will answer yes to these questions:

  • Does this seem worthwhile?
  • Is this the right time?
  • Does this match our other efforts/needs?


Goals includes target dates. A time-bound goal will help to answer:

  • When must I be finished?
  • What can I do six months from now?
  • What can I do six weeks from now?
  • What can I do today?


Once you have finalized your SMART goals, the next phase that many goal-setters fall short of is to plan the next steps you need to take and how to put them into action. Think of what resources you need, what activities do you need to complete to achieve your goal, and who can help you achieve your goal. Having a supportive friend and/or family network to help you stay on track can be very beneficial to you the people around you. Remember that failure is a part of the process and paves the way for success as it allows for the opportunity to learn and grow from it. As Michael Jordan said:


I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And this is why I succeed”


Read Here for more information on a How-To guide for SMART goal setting.