A new year, a new you, right? Everyone’s new year’s resolutions are well-intended, but more than half of all resolutions fail.1 By making your new year’s resolutions SMART, you’ll boost the chances of success in achieving your goals.

What Are SMART Resolutions?

SMART resolutions are action-oriented goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-oriented.2

SMART resolutions follow this formula:

SPECIFIC The more specific your goal, the more likely it will be that you’ll work at it. For example, rather than vaguely resolving to drink less, decide to eliminate your trips to the bar after work. You’re more likely to see resolutions through that are specific and focused, rather than resolutions that are too general, because specified goals are actionable.

MEASURABLE Make your goals measurable. For example, if you want to earn a promotion at work and know that you require additional training to qualify, a measurable goal would be to successfully complete the training course. Keep a log of your progress so you can track your results to determine if you’re meeting your goals.

ACHIEVABLE Setting goals that are too large of a leap can set you up for failure. For example, if you’re a couch potato but want to start running, an unrealistic goal would be to run a half marathon next month. Make resolutions that are more achievable by establishing smaller steps to take. Using a running app to train and picking a 5K race to participate in two months from now is a much more achievable goal. If you meet your goal and enjoy the 5K, then you can select a half marathon to train for in six months.

RELEVANT Make sure your resolution is one that matters to you, and that you’re making it for the right reasons. If you make a resolution out of self-loathing or regret, it will be difficult to maintain that commitment. It’s better to build up a process where you’re thinking more about what’s good for you and including people in your life who’ll help strengthen your resolve to meet your goal.

TIME-ORIENTED An open-ended goal without a time limit is primed for failure because there’s no deadline to meet. Your specific, measurable and relevant goal should also include a time constraint that’s realistically planned. Don’t set a deadline that’s so far in the future that you lose focus, but you should also allow yourself enough time to achieve your goal. Break down your objective by answering the following:

  • What can I do three months from now?
  • What can I do three weeks from now?
  • What can I do today?

Need Help Meeting Your Resolution?

When you choose the right resolution to enhance your life and plan how to achieve it, you’ll join the exclusive ranks of those who successfully achieve their goals. To avoid failing at any resolutions that involve substance use, consider seeing a mental health professional or joining a substance abuse treatment program where you can gain the support of people who have traveled along the same road to sobriety that you want to travel. With their support and experience, you can make sure your goals are SMART—and that you reach them.


  1. https://www.nytimes.com/guides/smarterliving/resolution-ideas
  2. https://blogs.psychcentral.com/observations/2012/07/be-smart-set-smart-goals/