How to Create SMART Goals for Work New Year’s Resolutions

2 min read
Dec 30, 2016


The new year is right around the corner, meaning everyone’s trying to figure out what resolutions they can make to improve their personal and professional lives in 2017.

While making a New Years resolution is one thing, keeping it is quite another. According to recent data, only 8% of Americans are actually successful when it comes to achieving their resolutions. That’s because many resolutions are vague and hard to measure. If your employees goal is to “read more,” for example, they may pick up a book, finish it three weeks later, and feel as though their work is done.

If you want to help them successfully keep New Years resolutions, you need to create SMART resolutions. Under the SMART framework, resolutions are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time based. What might those kinds of resolutions look like for the modern professional? Here are five examples:


01. I will learn a specific skill

Well, you’ll need to get a little more specific than that. Let’s say theyre a customer success manager who is interested in learning how to update the company’s website and manage its social channels despite having no experience doing so.

Make it their resolution. Connect them with someone on the marketing team and have them collaborate with employees who handle social media.


02. I will spend at least an hour a week reading up on my industry

In order to keep up with all the latest trends in the industry, employees need to read up on the latest developments. Under the SMART framework, it’s easy to create a resolution that can be easily measured — especially when it relates to reading.

The lower you aim, the easier your goal will be to achieve, but wheres the challenge in that? Instead, create a stretch goal for your employee to reach.


03. I will attend at least two professional development events in 2017

The best leaders are constantly trying to become better versions of themselves. Attending any number of conferences and trade shows each year can help in that regard. Look at the events on the 2017 calendar and find a couple that are right up your employees alley. Make it a resolution to go. 


04. I will get to know three of my employees better

As our Engagement Report points out, coworkers are the number one thing employees like about their jobs. Set up a cross-functional buddy system for your employee and make it a goal for them to meet their buddies at least once a week.


05. I will work on at least one project outside my department this year

The more skills your employee learns, the more valuable they are as a worker. If theyre always doing the same tasks — whether that’s writing code, managing people, or crunching numbers — theyll almost certainly benefit from stepping outside of their comfort zone and working with folks in other departments.

Not only will they learn new skills, theyll get to know people they don’t always work with at least a little bit better. A win-win scenario. This should be an easy resolution to keep.

Use the SMART framework to develop your employees work-related New Years resolutions and theyll be in the extreme minority that actually keeps them. Talk about starting 2017 off on the right foot.  



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