Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals for 2024

accountability employee motivation goal setting self improvement taking action Dec 19, 2023
Jody Holland Training & Speaking | Leadership
Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals for 2024

As you look forward to the new year, there is a framework that can help you set goals more effectively. Goals are the building blocks of resolutions, so if you want to follow through with your New Year’s resolutions, you need to create goal statements. This can break up your resolutions into smaller, achievable milestones.

You want to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. This stands for “Specific,” “Measurable,” “Action-Driven,” “Realistic,” and “Time-Defined.” A goal is more concrete than a resolution because it represents a plan more so than an intention. The goal should be clear, direct, and detailed. Vague goal statements are not effective. You need to be able to articulate exactly what you want to achieve without ambiguity, making it more likely that you will accomplish it.

The second piece of this is to make your goals measurable. It’s crucial to have criteria for measuring progress toward the achievement of the goal. This helps create forward momentum and keeps your motivation high. If the goal cannot be measured, it’s hard to tell when you have achieved it, making any actions you take aimless. This leads into the next letter of the acronym: “Action-Driven.”

Any goal that you set for yourself should motivate action. This could mean that you work toward the goal daily, weekly, or even monthly, but it’s important that you do take regular action. Hold yourself accountable, and be strategic about pursuing your goals. Whether it is baby steps or big leaps, you have the power to drive your own actions.

That being said, whatever goals you set for yourself need to be realistic. While it pushes you to grow if you set challenging goals, they also need to be achievable. Do you have the time, resources, and means to achieve those goals? If not, you might want to re-evaluate your goal statements and craft new ones.

The final piece of this is that your goals should be time-defined. Every goal should have either a hard deadline or a specific timeframe for when it should be accomplished. Without this time constraint, there is a lack of urgency and you become less likely to actively work toward your goals.

Structuring your goals using the S.M.A.R.T. framework ensures clarity, direction, and focus. It transforms your intentions into actionable plans. Instead of saying, “I want to read more this next year,” you could say something like, “I will read at least two books a month this upcoming calendar year.” With the second statement, you are specific, and you have a measure of two books per month, which is also time-defined. If you read at least one book a month last year, you know that this goal is realistic for you. And finally, the goal is actionable because you can work on it daily by reading in the morning, just before bed, or even after work.

To make your New Year’s resolutions stick, consider the goals that you can set for yourself along the way. What do you want to achieve in 2024? What do you want to define the upcoming year? You have the power to make that choice and follow through with it.


-Meghan Slaughter

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