By Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA®

The top 10 New Year’s Resolutions people set are:

1) Eat healthier
2) Get more exercise
3) Save more
4) Focus on self-care
5) Read more
6) Learn a new skill
7) Make new friends
8) Get a job or a different one
9) Take up a new hobby
10) Focus more on relationships.

Researchers say about 60% of us make New Year’s resolutions, but only about 8% are successful in actually achieving them. So WHY is this so?

A famous Harvard Business School study from years ago found that 83 out of 100 people do not have any clearly defined goals or a target to aim at. Of the 17 people left that did have goals, only 3 of them actually wrote them down on a sheet of paper. When Harvard concluded the study, the 3 out of the 100 people that had written goals were earning 10 times the income of the 83 people that didn’t have any written goals, and they tended to be in better health and have happier marriages.

What is the first thing you have to do when you want to hit a target? Actually have a target to aim at! There are many target and goal-setting methodologies. One that I’ve personally used for many years and has proven to be very effective is called the SMAC Method:

  • The S in SMAC stands for Specific, which means setting your goals and a target specifically for you personally, not what someone else wants.
  • The M in SMAC stands for Measurable, which means setting goals that you can measure along the way to make sure they hit their targets.
  • The A in SMAC stands for Achievable, which means aiming high is good, but not so high it’s impossible to reasonably reach your target or setting yourself up for disappointment.
  • Lastly, the C in SMAC stands for Compatible, or setting goals and targets that are compatible with your values and beliefs.

By being very specific with my goals over the years and putting them in writing, I have reached nearly 100% of them over time. You can set goals and targets in practically every area of your life. The different goals and targets I set for myself are Spiritual, Physical, Financial, Mental, Relational, Charitable, and Professional. Examples of Spiritual Goals could be enrolling in a small group Bible study, spending more alone time with God in prayer and meditation, getting back involved in your local church, or even making sure you read the Bible daily. The key is to make it SMAC!

Here are examples of each:

PHYSICAL GOALS: Take a daily walk, do aerobics 3-5 times a week, lift weights 2-3 times a week, eat healthier meals or even eat less, or get in enough shape to jog a 5K, etc.

FINANCIAL GOALS: Pay off old debts, build up your cash reserves, get on a daily and monthly budget and stick to it, start to save and invest for the future.

MENTAL GOALS: Sharpen your mind by reading more or challenging yourself.

RELATIONAL GOALS: Spend more quality time with your spouse, kids, or grandkids.

PROFESSIONAL GOALS: Get a special designation in your work field.

CHARITABLE GOALS: Work several days a quarter with Habitat for Humanity, go on a mission trip this year to help out, or give more time or financial resources.

I use a personal goals form, and I put a laminated copy of it in my shower, Bible, beside my desk, vanity mirror, and car sun visor. The form looks like the image below.

Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”