I am willing to bet that a large number of readers will have come across the SMART acronym in the course of their working lives. It is used, in my experience, when setting goals and targets to work towards and stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed.

The theory behind its use is that any goals you set yourself are clear. For example, rather than someone working in manufacture having a vague goal of, ‘I am going to start trying to make more widgets’, a SMART goal would be something like, ‘by the end of January I will be making an extra 5 widgets per hour as compared to how many I make at the end of December’.

SMART goals work well in the workplace. But how many people completely ignore the idea of SMART goals when thinking of New Year’s resolutions?

Why say, ‘I am going to get fit’? What does ‘fit’ mean? ‘Fit’ could mean anything ranging from climbing the stairs without getting out of breath to running the London marathon. Why not say, for example, ‘I am going to get fit enough to do a 5k run by 1st September’? That is a clear aim, you can measure it, and you can find an organised 5k run near to your home late in the summer and pay your entry fees as a motivation and reminder to keep going.

Likewise the resolution , ‘I am going to eat more healthily’. What is healthy? Make it SMART and say instead, ‘I am going to cut out all refined sugar for the entirety of January’. “Why not all year?”, I hear you ask. That’s where the ‘achievable and realistic’ bit comes in. A resolution that feels too huge is often doomed from the start.

So I have made my resolutions with SMART in mind. Nothing is too vague. Everything seems achievable and realistic. I will know when they are done, and I want to do them all in 2017.  I have actually made 17 resolutions. It being 2017, the number seemed to work. Some are about places or routes I want to walk (for example, walking the 7 mile trip from home to town). Others are things I want to visit (like Logan Botanic Garden).  Some are craft activities I want to do (like making my own dye using garden plants).  And knowing what my dieting pattern is like, I firmly resolved a long time ago to leave food out of my resolution list!

So what are your resolutions? Are they specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timed? Will you know if you’ve got there? Will you get there at all or do you suspect you’ll give up in 2 weeks’ time? Why not do things differently and go smart this year!

Happy New Year one and all. See you on the other side folks.