This page may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn on qualifying purchases. Please see our disclaimer for more information.

There’s something amazing about the end of the year and the beginning of the new year. Turning the calendar can give us a fresh batch of hopefulness. That’s probably why so many people set resolutions for the new year. But resolutions rarely work past the first few weeks. Instead of resolutions, be smart—or I should say S.M.A.R.T.—and set New Year’s goals.

New Year's Goals

At the beginning of 2022, I received an email with a cartoon in it that really hit home.

Character #1 says: Aren’t you terrified of what 2022 could be like? Everything is so messed up…

Character #2: I think it will bring flowers.

Character #1: Yes? Why?

Character #2: Because I’m planting flowers. (See the cartoon here)

Up to that point, I’d willy-nilly come up with a few hesitant goals. I knew there were things I wanted to accomplish in 2022, but the previous two years had been rough. Goals I’d made in 2020, prior to the pandemic, were still hanging out there, unaccomplished, at the end of 2021. The planting flowers cartoon was a wake-up call for me.

I made my New Year’s goals at the beginning of 2022 with goals that were S.M.A.R.T.— specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-sensitive.

I planted those seeds.

My goals grew from those seeds into something amazing and beautiful. While not every seed I planted came to fruition, some important ones did. And others morphed into something more than I’d even anticipated.

Once again, I’m making New Year’s goals, and I want to help you do so also.


S.M.A.R.T. New Year’s Goals

Too often people set goals that are vague and unrealistic. By using the popular acronym S.M.A.R.T when deciding on your goals, you can increase not only the likelihood of achieving your goals but also enjoying the process and progress.

S.M.A.R.T.—specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-sensitive— can change how you look at resolutions by them into New Year’s goals.



A popular resolution, I’m going to eat better,” is also one of the vaguest. Sure, we all want to eat better, but what does eating better mean to you?

In order to achieve your New Year’s goal, it needs to be specific. Something specific could be, I’m going to eat five servings of vegetables a day.

Do you have fitness goals? Be specific. One of my goals at the beginning of 2022, was to complete the 52 Hike Challenge. This is a very specific and simple sounding goal. Take a hike (of at least a mile) each week for 52 weeks.

Your New Year’s goals should answer the question of what you want accomplish over the course of the year. Why is this important to you? By being specific about your goals, you can help answer the question of why you want to accomplish this objective.



Your New Year’s goal should be measurable. I’m going to have five servings of vegetables a day is a measurable goal. You can easily track your daily progress on a spreadsheet, habit tracker, or calendar. My 52 Hike Challenge was measurable. I have a sheet to mark off the date, location, and distance of the hike, plus I posted my progress on social media.

You may have a goal to become better prepared in 2023. Being better prepared is always a good idea. Make this a measurable goal by detailing each piece of your preparedness efforts. One piece may be to have 30 gallons of water stored by January 31. This goal is not only measurable, it’s also specific—meeting the first two letters in our S.M.A.R.T. acronym. (Not sure how to get started with emergency preparedness? Check out this article.)

Measuring should be done by you. Don’t rely on others to tell you if you’ve reached your goal. Measuring your goal against someone else’s isn’t the same as measuring a specific item.



Your New Year’s goal should be achievable. Lofty goals may need to be broken down into several manageable components in order to be achieved. If your goal is to lose 80 pounds, this may be achievable but it may take more than a calendar year to accomplish. Break that down to what you can achieve this year. If 80 pounds is unrealistic in 2023, what is realistic?

Maybe those five servings of vegetables a day is where you start in January. Then, once that becomes a habit, you decide to decrease your sugar consumption—of course, not just by saying you’re going to decrease your sugar consumption but by striving for something specific and measurable such as, I’ll only have dessert on Friday nights.”

If increasing your preparedness in 2023 is a goal, you may want to concentrate on one focus item each month. Having 30 gallons of stored water in January is likely an achievable goal (this is only an example, it may or may not be the amount of water you should store).

A year’s supply of food for each member of your household by the end of January may be achievable depending on your specific financial situation, or that may need to be broken down over the course of the year. How about building up four weeks of food you regularly eat by the end of January? Then expand that to eight weeks by the end of February, twelve weeks by March, and so on. If you keep going until the end of the year, you’ll have 48 weeks of food storage built up. While not a full year, it’s very close!



Why is your goal important to you? Does it relate to your values? Your dreams? Your ambitions?

My 52 hikes goal correlated with my desire to have more movement in my life and a belief that fitness is an important part of preparedness. Plus, God gave me a physical body, wonderfully made. I realized I owed it to Him to care for it.

As you think about your goals for the upcoming year, ensure they are relevant to you. Making goals only because others think they are important will not drive you to accomplish them.



52 hikes was a very specific and time-sensitive goal. I have a deadline to complete the total hikes in the calendar year. Sometimes a goal will be achievable in less time than a calendar year. There’s nothing wrong with goals that take only weeks to accomplish. Other times, a goal may take more than a year.

For these longer-term goals, consider breaking it down into manageable pieces. When you’re in it for the long haul, it’s good to have small wins along the way. Imagine how great it’s going to feel when you’ve achieved your goal of 30 gallons of water. Or when you achieve a goal of four weeks food storage. Celebrate as you reach these stops toward your long-term goals!



I like to keep my goals front and center. Regularly revisiting my goals and incorporating them into my daily or weekly routine keeps me focused. Each week when I’m working on my calendar (my to-do list) I add in time to work on my goals.

When I’m writing a new book, writing time is plugged into the calendar. My weekly hike is added, any preparedness efforts I’m focusing on that week are written down, even a menu plan (rough or detailed) is added to the schedule. I know my personality, and the only way I can achieve my sometimes lofty goals are with dedicated focus.

Up until a couple of years ago, my to-do list was physical and formatted based on a workshop I took from Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. While not exactly the same as the S.M.A.R.T. plan, there are many similarities to the two concepts. If you’re looking for more structure to your life, I highly recommend The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The principles I learned there have helped me accomplish many goals throughout my life, including completing and publishing 25 (and counting!) fiction and nonfiction books.

If you’re a more visual person, you may wish to take your to-do list a step further and build a goal, or vision, board too. Vision boards can be a great inspiration. Here’s an example of setting of a S.M.A.R.T. vision board.

Revisiting my goals regularly also helps me with fine-tuning. Sometimes, what sounds like an excellent idea and a worthwhile goal will fizzle out. This may mean the goal isn’t something I should focus on at the current time or that I need to change it to make it work for me.


Enjoy the Process

Setting a few goals for the year can be a fun and enjoyable process. If you are new to S.M.A.R.T. goal setting, remember less is more. Choose one or two well-thought-out and well-planned goals to focus on.

Goal setting doesn’t need to be reserved for the turn of the calendar. If you need to change something, a new goal can be set up in March or July just as easily as January.

For long goals, such as my 52 hikes example, it’s a good idea to celebrate the wins along the way. I take pictures of every hike and love going back through my camera roll to look at the photos. It’s a great reminder of the fun along the way. My husband’s already requested we do the challenge again next year. It’s been a great family event for us!

Being able to share your goals with someone is also a great way to keep the momentum going. Each time we finish one of our hikes, I post it on social media as part of my accountability. I’ve had several people tell me my posts have helped them get outside more. It also helps me knowing others are watching and seeing how I’m doing with my very specific goal.


What are your New Year’s goals for 2023? Are they S.M.A.R.T.?

Pin It on Pinterest