As we are getting to the middle of December, the New Year is right around the corner. New Year’s often marks a time for resolutions such as giving up a bad habit, eating healthier, or aiming for financial stability. The reality is, many of us set resolutions and find ourselves coming up short in succeeding.

resolutions vs goals

While we often have the best intentions when setting New Year’s resolutions, we may forget to lay out the groundwork to achieve them. This is where goals come in. Goals and resolutions both involve setting intentions for personal improvement, but they differ in terms of structure and implementation. Resolutions often tend to be broad and unspecific. Goals are more defined, precise, and measurable. Setting goals involves a strategic approach. Unlike resolutions, which often fade away over time, goals provide a clearer roadmap and a sense of direction.


SMART goals are a practical framework that enhances goal setting by making objectives more: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound. This offers a structured way to refine intentions and gives us direction for progress. Breaking down goals into these five key components helps in crafting meaningful and achievable objectives, setting the stage for a more focused direction for success. Let’s explore each aspect of SMART goals to understand how they contribute to successful goal setting.


Define your goal clearly. For example, instead of stating “I want to find a new job,” be specific, such as “I aim to secure a position as a social worker within six months by networking, completing additional certifications, and applying to at least five suitable job openings each week.” Write your goal down on paper and put it somewhere where you can regularly see it such as the bathroom mirror.


Make your goal quantifiable. Set tangible targets such as sending out five job applications per week and obtaining one new certification every two months. This ensures you have a way to track progress toward your desired outcome.


Ensure your goal is realistic and within reach. Aim to secure a job in your chosen field within a reasonable timeframe, setting achievable milestones along the way. Your goal should be challenging but achievable.


Ensure your goal aligns with your overall objectives. Consider how this job change contributes to your recovery and your aspirations in life. Your goal should achieve a relevant purpose to you.


Establish a clear timeframe. Set a start date for your job search, break down your action plan into monthly or weekly targets, and define a deadline for securing a new position. While setting your goal you should actively monitor your progress and re-evaluate.

In short, resolutions often fade away, but SMART goals give us a clearer path to success. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound. By integrating these principles into our recovery, we transform vague intentions into well defined, actionable plans. Each goal is a step toward our best selves. With setting clear goals and working towards them, we become more empowered and can make real progress in our lives!