How to set and achieve your goals

Here we are, at the beginning of a new year. As we contemplate what is possible over the next 12 months, 87 percent of us will set resolutions and by the end of January, over 50 percent will fail to keep them. Why do we fail? You probably have heard that goals need to be SMART (Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Realistic – Timely) and the acrostic is a useful tool. However, the reason we fail to achieve our new year goals is that they are not “smart” enough.

I have revised the SMART acrostic to essentially ensure you will reach your goals if you follow each step.

Settings resolutions for the new year. For 2024 try the improved SMART framework.


Your goal is the “what” you want to accomplish and your strategy is the “how” to achieve it. As in any strategic plan, you will need to define the Vision and Mission underpinning the goal. You also need to identify the various actions steps and adjustments essential to realize the goal. If your goal is to run a marathon for example, your vision might be the exhilaration of crossing the finish line under a certain time. Your mission might be to get into optimal physical shape. The actions to take would be your training schedule leading up to race-day.


Without adequate leverage or a big enough “why”, we usually cave under the first challenge or temptation. When considering our goals for the year, it is wise to clearly understand the purpose behind each goal. When we have a compelling purpose supporting our goal, we are more willing to pay the price associated with the goal and push beyond adversarial forces. Keeping your “why” prominent is key, especially when things become challenging. A compelling purpose provides the gravity to shift mindset, so keeping a focus on your why will strengthen your commitment and expand your resourcefulness.


Goals that are not shared seldom come to pass. The key is not to share your intentions with those who will be unsupportive. Share your intentions with those who will offer you support and hold you accountable. One of the core elements found in effective coaching or mentorship is regular accountability sessions, where you report your progress, the challenges you face and explore ways to improve.


Wisdom demands that we count the cost of any endeavor. Wisdom requires that we take an accounting of what is required and what resources are available to accomplish a task or goal. If your goal is to launch a new business endeavor, ask; what is the start-up cost? (What assets do I have access to?), What skill-sets are needed? (Do I know everything I need to know? Do I need training? Can I hire the talent I need?) What equipment and tools are necessary? (Do I need to lease an office? What capital investment do I need to make?)


During any worthwhile endeavor, temptations, threats or challenges will occur. To be successful in achieving a goal, take time to anticipate the opposition you will face. Then develop a plan of action to either avoid them as much as possible and formulate strategies that will enable you to persevere.

Goal setting is fundamental to any achievement. Even airline pilots set goals every day; it’s called a flight plan. To ensure you remain on the course you set, make sure you set SMART goals.