The Joseph Group

SMART Resolutions

January 5, 2024

To Inspire:

New Year’s resolutions – over one third of Americans make them but most drop them quickly. A recent Forbes study found that 23% of those making New Year’s resolutions will drop them after only one week and 80% will have abandoned them by March. Only 9% stick with them for an entire year.

Want some quick pointers on how to be more successful with your resolutions? Here are three:

First, choose carefully. The most important factor in success is choosing only one or two resolutions and ensuring that they are ones that you are strongly passionate about or strongly curious about. Make sure any resolution you choose relates to some aspect of the great life you want to live and that you’ve carefully considered your motivation for choosing it. Only if you care deeply enough about a resolution will you have the desire to persist with it throughout the year.

Next, SMART your resolutions. A vaguely worded resolution is a resolution that won’t and can’t be kept. Use the acronym SMART to define your resolution more precisely:

  • S – specific. Be very specific about your resolution. Getting healthy is a nice thought but it’s not specific enough – perhaps adapt it to implementing a healthy eating plan or implementing a weekly fitness plan.
  • M – measurable. Once you’ve made it specific, make it measurable. For example, “I am going to exercise three times a week for 40 minutes each time.” Or “I am going to have 20 minutes of quiet time every morning upon waking up.”
  • A – actionable. Your resolution must be one on which you can act and be responsible for. Wanting to help a loved one quit drinking is not actionable by you – it requires their participation. Focus on resolutions that you can implement to help you become the best version of yourself.
  • R – realistic. Success is often hindered by setting a goal that is unrealistic. Losing 60 pounds in 6 months likely is not a realistic goal. Start with a goal of losing 10 pounds in three months and once you’ve accomplished that, set the next three-month goal.
  • T – time driven. Goals need dates by which you will have accomplished them or made specific progress toward them. Always set a date to your resolutions – and keep track on your calendar.

Finally, enlist the support of one or two others to help hold you accountable. Many people fail to accomplish their resolutions because they keep them private and don’t enlist help from others. Pride is probably at work (“if I start to fail or give up entirely, no one will know and I won’t be embarrassed”), but if the resolution is important enough to you, you should share it with your spouse or a close friend and ask them to help hold you accountable. Their involvement may be just the thing that helps you persevere and ultimately achieve your resolution.

Desiring your great life must be accompanied by action and this New Year is a great time to reflect deeply on what in life is important to you and what steps need to be taken to live that life. We’ll take care of your financial plan and portfolio – you get out there and LIVE!





Written by Matt Palmer, Partner & Co-Founder