SMART Goals and Resolutions

Posted on January 4, 2016


The new year is settling like dust in carpet. After 2016’s first couple days have passed, I’m left remembering that nothing of great measure actually changes with the passing of each December. Each year, we watch Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, and celebrities have a few minutes to address what they want to change in the new year. Most answers are somewhat vague; ambiguous, overarching themes they hope might better guide their lives.

“I hope to be a better person.”

“I want to be healthy, maybe lose some weight.”

“I want to spend more time with family.”

If these were your resolutions, I’m sorry but you are destined to fail. These types of broad-strokes goals are the types of goals we most often fail to achieve. Not because they aren’t “good” goals, but because it’s damn near impossible to determine whether or not you have been a “better person,” or measure the word “some” or “more.” You need a starting point, and you need a finish line.

Basically, I’m calling bullshit on New Year’s Resolutions and demanding we do better.

(Also, super depressing way to start updating BecomingJennie Jennie, now they’re hooked!)

I don’t intend to be depressing, only to illustrate that we set ourselves up for failure at the start of each year by creating lofty and unachievable goals. Let’s not do this in 2016. Let’s make SMART goals instead.

SMART goals were born of Peter Drucker’s management by objective concept (here is a great PDF of Drucker’s that you may enjoy!), and create a marching path forward toward our goals. Even though Forbes said that SMART goals can be dumb (Fuck you Forbes, and your “Quote of the Day. You can be dumb too.), and you may have been forced to do these at work, thus developing a hatred for all things like this, SMART goals are a super helpful way to create steam in your little engine that could.

What are they?



Action-Oriented/Attainable/Achievable (Whatever you like best?)



So, for example, my goal in the last post to “write my first fiction piece” was not SMART. Parts of it were, but not in full. So I’ll rewrite it here and SMARTify it.




S: I will complete my first work of fiction, a book about Quinn Conklin, a 17 year old girl (with spirit-crushing anxiety) whose journal goes missing. The journal is bigger than your standard teenager’s “Who I’ve been crushing on” fare – it contains details about each lie she’s told over the past nine years. Without her database to back up any new lies, Quinn is forced to tell only truths as she fights to find her journal, and in the process, discovers what authenticity means.

M: I will know I’ve reached my goal once I have a completed manuscript and one round of edits.

A: I need a writing schedule: 2 hours per day, 5 days per week.  I will book time with myself to obtain this needed schedule (just like I book time on Classpass to workout!).

R: I’m hoping to satiate my desire to be creative by telling stories. The outcome that should result is a feeling of accomplishment, and telling a complete and well-thought out story makes me feel accomplished.

T: Act 1 is complete. Act 2 will be complete by January 25 (3 weeks), Act 3 will be complete by February 22 (birthday!), and first round of edits will be done by Marvh 14.

There. Let’s do one more.

S: I’ll update BevomingJennie regularly. Topics in posts will range from entries like this (more self-help focused), to mindfulness meditations, to daily and social issues, to character sketches to short stories.

M: I will know I’ve reached my goal by Dec 31 of 2016, where I will do “Year in Review” post. I will know I was successful because I will have 24 posts for the year.

A: I need content ideas to ensure updates are possible. I can brainstorm post ideas with Hubs, and I can always reach out to my readership for post ideas. I can keep a collection of drafts in my writing program.

R: The change is like to see is that my readership base grows. The outcome of this change should be reflected in more unique site visits. Updating regularly helps me achieve this because it keeps people coming back to reading, and provides readers with a great reason to share content with friends.

T: Updates will be posted the first and third Monday of each month, sometime before 10am. Posts might/can be written anytime during the two-weeks prior, and set to “automatic post” (to help with consistent publishing times).

Don’t these goals feel better and more achievable than the ones in my last post? Aren’t you thinking about how to rewrite your resolutions so they are as SMART as you? And if you hate it, that’s fine, sit in that “hatred” for a minute. See what it feels like to experience an aversion like this.

Where do you experience hatred? 

In thoughts?


Actual physical sensations?

Great. Now that you’ve practiced a little mindfulness and discovered more about the experience of “not liking” something, give yourself the tools you need to succeed this year and try to make a SMART goal anyway.

Posted in: Self-Help