SMART goals for the New Year

Posted on 23 January 2012

Did you make a New Years resolution for 2012?

As we once again celebrate the New Year there is the usual pledge by the masses that they will stick to their news years ‘resolution’. Though, arguably a high percentage of those resolutions don’t see it past Australia Day, this is due to a number of factors, the foremost being many of these resolutions are made as a promise to one’s self and rarely go further than the initial statement, with eyes set on the destination rather than planning specific strategies to achieve the resolution.

Reputable sources recommend the first step to success is to refer to your resolution as a goal rather than a resolution this can also be applied to business planning. Jim Cathcart a professional speaker once said “most people aim at nothing in life and hit it with amazing accuracy." The importance of goal setting for both individuals and firms is critical as it provides expectations, opportunities and hopes and when these are reached success can be achieved.

There are a plethora of management and goal setting strategies whether it be to create a budget and stick to it, get organised, start something new or to reduce staff turnover however a well practiced goal setting strategy is to adopt the SMART goals.

The strategy first appeared in the early 80s in Management Review which argued that’s goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.


Rather than a generic “to go overseas” it needs more exact in order to have a better chance of being achieved “Fly to Europe in December to enjoy a White Christmas”.


Have a clear understanding if the goal is attainable and know it can be achieved within a time frame by preparing a road map of steps need to take to achieve your goal.


Your goal should be able to be accomplished, setting goals beyond realistic boundaries limits the likelihood of success as it may lead to limited motivation and discouragement. This may mean that small steps may be completed straight away.


The goal should be realistic within your time frame, budget and other constraints. For firms it should also be relevant to your business. A goal may appear optimistic, however if you develop strategies to attain those goals they can become realistic.


With this point it is vital that the goal should be set with both enough time for it to be completed yet without too much time allocated as this could impact the performance. Your goal should be grounded with the time frame and completion date to avoid a lack of urgency which could hinder her goal being achieved.

It should go without saying however, that the SMART goal setting strategy is a guideline for goal setting and whether the goal be diminutive or life changing it needs to be a one which has been clearly planned out in order to achieve the best results. For other strategies individuals and firms may also wish to adopt the backward goal setting strategy which may make the planning process straightforward when working backwards from the desired goal.

This is the time for business to prepare goals for the coming twelve months or review medium to long-term goals set for the business.

If you would like your programs or procedures reviewed please contact our office on (02) 9890 4755.