Make 2024 the Year to Get SMART

[fa icon="calendar"] Jan 10, 2024 9:00:00 AM / by Maj Donovan

New Year’s resolutions

In the early days of January, it is easy to make progress on New Year’s resolutions, but by the time we reach the end of the month, many of us have abandoned our resolutions for 2025. This year, instead of making a resolution, how about making a SMART Goal?  In this way if you have an off week or two, we can always climb back on the train to your intended destination.

To illustrate, say you had a New Year’s resolution to read more. You felt good about the resolution, and you started reading right away. Then life got in the way, and you set the book down and didn’t get back to it. Now January is gone and so too is your resolution. 

Instead, how about setting a goal of reading six books by the end of 2024? In this way, if you have an off month, you can still recover and get back to your goal. In short, what you want to do is set SMART Goals for yourself.  

What are SMART goals?  

SMART goals are a way to make progress without over burdening yourself. It is a system for improvement in a measured, practical way. More specifically, SMART is an acronym that spells out: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. 

Specific – You want to make your goals specific. You don’t want to have a goal that says, “I want to read more.”  What is more?  Instead, you want to specify what more means. As in the illustration above, more equates to six books read by 2025.  

Measurable – How do you quantify success?  If you left your stated resolution as “more” and you read one book, did you achieve your resolution?  Instead, place a number by your goal so you have a quantifiable and measurable standard.

Attainable – This refers to the time and resources that are needed to achieve the goal. I may have a goal of traveling to Europe this summer, but if I don’t have the money saved, or the vacation time built up, it’s more of a wish or bucket list item rather than a goal.    

Realistic – We want to challenge ourselves, but we don’t want to set ourselves up for failure either. If you want to take up running and your goal is to do a marathon by year’s end, that might not be attainable. Instead, it would be better to make the goal realistic like a 5K or 10K by year’s end. 

Timely – Timely refers to having a suspense date or an end date. If we don’t aim for something, we won’t hit anything.  Having an end date keeps us on track and keeps us accountable.

Get a Buddy

There is a reason that we have sponsors in recovery. They help us in our goal of staying sober One Day at a Time. They are there to assist us through issues we encounter on our recovery journey. They are an accountability check.  

We can use this idea with our SMART Goals too. We call this person a buddy. They are there to encourage us along the path of our goal attainment. They are like a mentor, coach, or cheerleader. They help us recognize and enjoy our successes and they are there to help us reset our motivational compass in the event we fall short of our goal. Like our sponsor, they too act as an accountability check.  

In summary, SMART goals are a way to increase your wellness, self-confidence, and self-efficacy. SMART goals are simply a way that helps you plan and break down larger life goals into more attainable steps. 



Topics: alcohol addiction, Recovery, Drug Rehab, Support Group, higher power

Maj Donovan

Written by Maj Donovan

Maj Donovan is a person in long-term recovery with over four decades of sobriety. He is an author, blogger, lecturer and teaches a monthly workshop at “The Retreat” on the 12 Steps and Sponsorship.

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