Smarten up your new year

January! Time for new beginnings. You’ve got a clean slate. And probably a few New Year’s resolutions, too. But now that it’s the middle of January, maybe those big resolutions are fading fast. How to stay on track? For starters, stop calling them resolutions, and call them promises. Add in some SMART goals, and set yourself up for success.

Resolutions are firm and rigid. Like rules. Breaking rules may make you feel guilty or weak, or that "cheating" is one way to justify breaking the rules “just this time.” I don’t know about you, but none of this makes me feel good. I’d rather feel good than guilty!

How would it be if you took a kinder and more reasonable approach to goal setting this year? Instead of swearing to stick with a resolution come hell or high water, make space in your life and in your mind to allow it to happen.


Look for the real motivation that’s driving your goal. If you want to “work out more,” why is that? The reason does matter, because that’s where your inspiration comes from. It could be that you want to be have more physical strength and stamina; to improve your heart health; to feel good about yourself for a special event. Know why you want this so badly that you’re willing to put in the time and effort to make it happen.

We’ve all got a lot on our plates. Life is busy and demanding. It’s easy to feel like you’re torn in twenty-two directions, scrambling to get things done while keeping everyone happy at work and at home. It’s time to put yourself at the top of your list.

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”

-Jim Rohn


If your resolutions are well-intentioned like the ones below, they are too vague to drive sustainable change because they are missing the specifics that let you know how you're doing.

  • Work out more

  • Find a new job

  • Eat healthier

  • Get more sleep

Instead, make SMART goals. That means setting goals that are

  • SPECIFIC - what exactly is it that you want?        

  • MEASURABLE - what steps will you commit to taking to get there?

  • ACHIEVABLE - is this possible? What else in your life needs to change to make it happen?

  • REALISTIC- how likely are you to achieve this goal?

  • TIMELY - by what date will you do this?

On a scale of 1-10, how committed are you to making the changes that will make these goals a reality? Be honest with yourself. If you’re not at least at an 8, take another look and see what might create more enthusiasm and buy-in. What would it take for you to be excited enough to make it a 9 or 10?

If your other life obligations don’t change, how are you realistically going to fit “work out more” into the same 24 hours a day that you still have? Something’s got to give. And it will probably be whatever has been making you struggle enough in the past that it’s ended up as your New Year’s resolution.

Download this free printable SMART goal worksheet!

Download this free printable SMART goal worksheet!

It’s no wonder that resolutions are often packed away with the holiday decorations, waiting to be taken out again the following year. Take a look at my free printable to help you set a SMART goal for yourself!

My wish for you in 2017 is for you to stop beating yourself up over failed New Year’s Resolutions, and to begin creating goals that bring you into alignment with the life that you truly want. Use SMART Goals to stay focused on the thoughts and feelings. With a plan in place, the action and results will happen.

What’s your big, beautiful unstoppable dream for this year?


If you’d like to learn about getting support to create great changes in your life please schedule a Get Acquainted Call.

Denise Fountain is a Life Transformation Coach and Certified Professional Coach. She works with women going through transitions to rediscover themselves and create lives that are happy, healthy and whole again. Together with her clients, she explores the connection between stress, health and happiness, and guides her clients to move forward to make lasting and sustainable changes. She is passionate about helping women live their best lives. Sign up for updates while you’re on this site! Contact her at to learn more about how Denise can partner with you to create the life you dream of.