It's usually used in business settings but I don't see why it can't be used to help plan new year's resolutions or any other goals in your life.
S = Specific
M = Measureable
A = Attainable
R = Relevant
T = Timely
Let's look at each of those in turn and find out why there is a gratuitous image of delicious chips below.
This is the What, Where and How of your goal. What do you want to do? Why is it important? How are you going to do it? Be clear with your goals so you stick to them.
A goal that isn't specific such as 'lose weight' is less likely to actually happen. Say 'lose 2lbs in a month' and you've got a goal you can work with.
Of course, if you achieve your goal then success is measurable but you also need ways to measure the goal actually happens too. Measuring progress is a good way to stay on track. If the plan is to 'be a better person' then that's very honourable and all that but not easy to measure. Choose something like 'read five pages of a book each night' and that can be measured and checked. Think 'How much?' 'How many?' and you'll start forming your goals well.
There is no point having a goal to 'marry Johnny Depp'. Sorry to break it to you but that's a dream. Your goals need to stretch you but be within your reach and be realistic. This simply means it can be done. Don't have a goal to climb Kilimanjaro when you're based in Europe and have no plans to travel.
And don't state you'll never eat chips again if you really like them and your friends and family will continue eating them around you in the future. It's realistic to plan to reduce chip eating but ruling it out is unnecessary torture.
This means choose a goal you actually care about. Yes, you could bake a batch of cakes before work every day but if you don't like cake then it's not relevant to you. Of course, if you do still choose this goal and don't like baked goods then just let me know. I never like to see wasted cake.
Don't have open-ended goals as you'll lose interest. You want a deadline whether it's in two months or by next summer. Without a time frame the commitment is too vague and lacks any sense of urgency.
Do you think you'll start making your goals SMART from now on? I don't plan to rule out cake or chips in the future but I might reduce them to once a week. I reckon that fulfils the criteria.
Images: (c) dionsilva, clarita, earl53 & jcbinder