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Happy New Year! Setting SMART Goals Amid Great Expectations for New Year Resolutions

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SMART Goals, Great Expectations, & New Year Resolutions for a Happy New Year 2024!

Goals and expectations, while closely related, have distinct meanings and applications, especially in personal, professional, and organizational contexts. Please get out a pad to write your thoughts as you review the following as soon as you have any inkling that any of this makes sense for you.

SMART Goals:

  1. Definition: Goals are specific objectives that an individual, group, or organization strives to achieve. They serve as targets for one’s actions and decisions. Goals are typically well-defined, measurable, and have a set timeframe for achievement.
  2. Characteristics of SMART Goals:
    • Specificity: Goals are often specific, outlining exactly what needs to be accomplished.
    • Measurability: They can be measured, allowing individuals or organizations to track progress.
    • Achievability: They should be realistically attainable, though they may also be challenging.
    • Relevance: Goals are usually aligned with broader values, missions, or purposes.
    • Time-Bound: Goals usually have a deadline or a specific timeframe for completion.
  3. Purpose: Goals provide direction and motivation, helping individuals or organizations focus their efforts and resources effectively. They also facilitate progress tracking and success measurement.

Photo for Setting SMART Goals Amid Great Expectations for New Year ResolutionsGreat Expectations:

  1. Definition: Expectations are beliefs or forecasts about what will happen in the future, often based on past experiences, current information, or societal norms. Unlike goals, expectations are not always set deliberately and can be either realistic or unrealistic.
  2. Characteristics:
    • Belief-Based: Expectations are often based on beliefs or assumptions about how things should be or how others should behave.
    • Flexibility: They can be more fluid and changeable, adapting to new information or circumstances.
    • Implicit or Explicit: Expectations can be clearly stated or implied, and sometimes they are not consciously recognized.
    • Not Always Measurable: Unlike goals, expectations might not be quantifiable or specific.
    • Influence Behavior: Expectations can significantly influence people’s behavior and attitudes, both positively and negatively.
  3. Purpose: Expectations help individuals form a mental model of what to anticipate in a given situation, guiding behavior and decision-making. They can also set standards for performance and interactions.

Comparing and Contrasting SMART Goals and Great Expectations:

  • Similarity in Guidance: Both serve as guides. Goals direct actions towards a specific aim, while expectations shape beliefs about likely outcomes.
  • Difference in Formation: Goals are typically set through a deliberate planning process, while expectations can form spontaneously based on past experiences or societal norms.
  • Flexibility: Expectations are often more flexible and subjective, whereas goals are usually more concrete and objective.
  • Measurability: Goals are typically measurable and have specific criteria for success, unlike expectations, which may be more abstract.
  • Impact on Behavior: Both can significantly influence behavior, but in different ways. Goals motivate action towards achievement, while expectations can subtly shape behavior and attitudes, often without conscious awareness.
  • Adjustability: Goals can be adjusted or changed based on circumstances, performance, or changing priorities. Expectations might also change but are often less consciously altered.
  • Relation to Reality: Goals are aspirational and represent what we desire to achieve, whereas expectations are anticipatory, representing what we believe will happen.

Understanding the nuances between goals and expectations is crucial in both personal development and organizational management. Setting clear goals while managing realistic expectations can lead to more effective planning, higher motivation, and better overall outcomes.  Setting great expectations and setting SMART goals for the new year, though related, involve different approaches and mindsets. Here’s a breakdown of each concept and how they differ:

Photo for Setting SMART Goals Amid Great Expectations for New Year ResolutionsSetting Great Expectations for the New Year

  1. Nature: Expectations are beliefs or forecasts about what might happen. They are often less about specific achievements and more about general outlooks or standards.
  2. Flexibility: Expectations can be more flexible and subjective. They are often influenced by past experiences, societal norms, and personal beliefs.
  3. Impact: Setting high expectations can create a positive mindset and an optimistic outlook for the year. It can increase motivation and drive.
  4. Risk: There is a risk of disappointment if expectations are set too high and are not met. This can lead to disillusionment or decreased morale.
  5. Examples: Expecting to improve overall health, expecting to find more balance in life, expecting to be more open to new opportunities.

Setting SMART Goals for the New Year

  1. Make your Goals SMART Goals.
  2. Nature: Goals are specific, measurable targets set to achieve desired outcomes. They are concrete and action-oriented.
  3. Clarity and Specificity: Goals are typically clear and specific, making it easier to develop strategies and action plans to achieve them.
  4. Measurability: Goals can be tracked and measured, allowing for a clear sense of progress and achievement.
  5. Motivation: Setting goals can provide a clear direction and a strong sense of purpose, driving focused action.
  6. Examples: Losing 20 pounds, reading 12 new books, achieving a specific sales target in your business, learning a new skill.

Comparing and Contrasting

  • Outlook vs. Action: Expectations are more about the outlook or mindset for the year, whereas goals are about specific actions and achievements.
  • Subjectivity vs. Objectivity: Expectations can be subjective and based on personal beliefs. In contrast, goals are objective, with clear criteria for success.
  • Flexibility vs. Rigidity: Expectations can change and evolve more easily than goals, which are typically more fixed and structured.
  • Motivational Impact: Both can be motivating, but in different ways. Expectations can create a positive overall mindset, while goals provide clear targets to work towards.
  • Risk of Disappointment: Unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment, whereas unmet goals can be adjusted or reevaluated based on performance and circumstances.

Best Practices for New Year Resolutions Based on SMART Goals & Great Expectations

To maximize effectiveness, it’s beneficial to set both realistic expectations and achievable goals for the new year:

  • Align Expectations and Goals: Ensure that your expectations and goals complement each other. Goals should be set in a way that reinforces your positive expectations.
  • Manage Expectations: Be optimistic but realistic. High expectations are good, but they should be tempered with a realistic understanding of what can be achieved.
  • SMART Goals: Set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals to increase the chances of success.
  • Flexibility: Be prepared to adjust both expectations and goals as the year progresses and circumstances change.

In conclusion, setting expectations and goals for the new year are both important. Expectations set the tone and mindset, while goals provide a roadmap for what you want to achieve. Balancing both leads to a more productive and fulfilling year.  Setting “great expectations” for the new year involves creating a positive and ambitious outlook for what you wish to achieve or experience. Unlike specific goal setting, crafting great expectations is more about shaping your mindset and attitude toward the upcoming year. Here’s a guide on how to effectively set these expectations:

  1. Reflect on the Past Year:
    • Assess and Learn: Reflect on the past year’s experiences, challenges, and achievements. Consider what went well and what could have been better.
    • Gather Insights: Identify key lessons learned that can inform your expectations for the new year.
  2. Define Your Vision:
    • Broad Outlook: Think about the overall direction you want your life, career, or personal development to take in the new year.
    • Inspiration and Aspirations: Consider what inspires you and what you aspire to be or achieve. This vision will guide your expectations.
  3. Cultivate a Positive Mindset:
    • Optimism: Foster an optimistic outlook. Believe in the potential for positive change and growth.
    • Resilience: Build resilience to face challenges, understanding that setbacks are part of the journey.
  4. Set Ambitious, Yet Realistic Expectations:
    • Balance: Aim high but remain grounded in reality. Avoid setting expectations so high that they become a source of stress or disappointment.
    • Flexibility: Be open to adapting your expectations as circumstances change throughout the year.
  5. Focus on Personal Growth and Development:
    • Self-Improvement: Set expectations that promote your personal and professional growth.
    • Learning: Embrace new learning opportunities and experiences.
  6. Prioritize Health and Well-being:
    • Physical and Mental Health: Expect to take better care of your physical health and mental well-being.
    • Balance: Aim for a balanced lifestyle that includes work, leisure, and rest.
  7. Embrace New Opportunities:
    • Openness: Be open to new possibilities and opportunities that may arise.
    • Adventurous Spirit: Encourage yourself to step out of your comfort zone.
  8. Enhance Relationships and Community Engagement:
    • Relationships: Expect to invest time and energy in building and strengthening relationships.
    • Community: Look for ways to contribute positively to your community or social circles.
  9. Document Your Expectations:
    • Write It Down: Documenting your expectations can help clarify and solidify them.
    • Visualization: Create a vision board or use visualization techniques to keep your expectations vivid in your mind.
  10. Review and Adjust Periodically:
    • Regular Check-ins: Periodically review your expectations to see if they align with your evolving circumstances and priorities.
    • Adaptation: Be willing to adjust your expectations as needed.

Remember, setting great expectations is not just about what you aim to achieve; it’s also about cultivating a mindset that is optimistic, resilient, and open to growth and new experiences. It’s about setting the tone for a year that is fulfilling, enriching, and aligned with your overall vision for your life.  We hope you keep these thoughts in mind, whether on the ‘back-burner’ or actively in the forefront of your thoughts and actions to create SMART Goals, Great Expectations, and solid, fulfilling New Year Resolutions.

Happy New Year!

Please contact us with questions.  Best to callemail or visit our site for the best response.  We do invite you to engage with us on social media (just not for immediate needs). As always, if you like, you will find us on the following social media sites, among many others:

LinkedIn thanks the author of our sister sites for composing this post and sharing it with us, so we could share it with you!

Composed by Keith Klein, Author of WebForging, Founder & CEO of OnYourMark, Chief Blogger at, and Proprietor of – along with a big AI assist.  Feel free to use this post yourself, with this last paragraph, including live links, as attribution.  Your viewers are entitled to the same re-posting with live attribution as well.  CopyLeft.   Happy New Year!

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Happy Thanksgiving 2023, and let’s emphasize the spirit of giving!

Image of a wrapped gift with a thank you card to illustrate a blog on the "Spirit of Giving"

Happy Thanksgiving - Spirit of givingHappy Thanksgiving 2023, and let’s emphasize the spirit of giving!

As we celebrate this special day of gratitude, we can emphasize the spirit of giving – reflecting on how we can continue to make a positive impact in our families, among our friends, and in our larger communities.

Here are some ideas for acts of kindness and giving for thirty days, spread out through next year, to help establish the spirit of giving – a giving mindset and a great giving exploration:

  1. November 23, Thanksgiving Day 2023 Many families really do take time to express what they’re thankful for, including the opportunity to bring those dearest to us, nearest to us, once more.
  2. November 24, Friendsgiving Day 2023  Ditto #1 above.
  3. November 25  Small Business Saturday 2023 Patronize your favorite small shop(s).
  4. November 27  Cyber Monday 2023 If you’re not in a position to patronize your favorite small shops – or even if you are – go the extra mile and give them a great review on Google or a community bulletin board.  Tell others why they’re a favorite of yours.
  5. November 30, 2023 Give yourself “Calls to Action.”  Subscribe to newsletters or podcasts having to do with volunteer service work and causes with which you identify to be aware of what is happening in your areas of interest on a long-term basis.
  6. December 1, 2023 – Support a Local Food Bank Consider donating non-perishable food items to your nearest food bank. Many people struggle with food insecurity, especially during the holiday season.
  7. December 15, 2023 – Provide Warm Clothing Gather gently-used coats, scarves, and gloves, and donate them to a homeless shelter. Winter can be harsh, and your donations can make a big difference.
  8. December 25, 2023 – Christmas Giving Continue the tradition of giving by volunteering at a Christmas charity event or donating to a favorite charitable organization.

    Extend the Spirit of Giving through the New Year

  9. January 7, 2024 – Volunteer at a Senior Center or Assisted Living Facility.  Spend some time with elderly residents at a local senior center. Your companionship can brighten their day and reduce feelings of loneliness…both ways!
  10. January 21, 2024 – Clean Up a Local Park Organize a community clean-up day at a nearby park. A cleaner environment benefits everyone and fosters community pride.
  11. February 14, 2024 – Send Cards to Hospitalized Children Create and send Valentine’s Day cards to children in the hospital. Your warm wishes can bring smiles to their faces during a challenging time.
  12. March 3, 2024 – Plant a Tree Join a tree-planting event in your area. Trees improve air quality, provide shade, and contribute to a healthier planet.
  13. March 17, 2024 – Help a Neighbor Offer assistance to an elderly or disabled neighbor, whether it’s shoveling snow, grocery shopping, or simply being a good listener.
  14. April 22, 2024 – Earth Day Cleanup Participate in an Earth Day cleanup event to remove litter from local streets and parks. A cleaner environment benefits everyone’s quality of life.
  15. May 5, 2024 – Donate Blood Visit a local blood donation center and give the gift of life. Blood donations are crucial for saving lives in emergencies and medical procedures.
  16. May 20, 2024 – Support a Local Animal Shelter Donate pet supplies, volunteer your time, or consider adopting a furry friend from a local animal shelter.
  17. June 10, 2024 – Mentor a Student Offer your expertise to mentor a student in your field. Guidance and support can significantly impact their educational and career journey.
  18. June 24, 2024 – Community Garden Join or start a community garden project, providing fresh produce to those in need and fostering a sense of unity.
  19. July 7, 2024 – Send Care Packages to Troops Assemble care packages with essential items and snacks to send to deployed military personnel. Your support boosts morale.
  20. July 21, 2024 – Organize a Charity Run/Walk Host a charity run or walk to raise funds for a cause you’re passionate about. It promotes fitness and community engagement.
  21. August 15, 2024 – Donate Books Contribute books to a local library or school. Reading opens doors to knowledge and opportunities for young minds.
  22. August 29, 2024 – Help a Homeless Shelter Provide hygiene kits or toiletries to a homeless shelter. These small items can make a big difference for those in need.
  23. September 11, 2024 – Remember 9/11 Pay tribute to the heroes and victims of 9/11 by supporting a charity related to first responders or veterans.
  24. September 25, 2024 – Support A Group or Organization You Care About  If you’ve had a loved one affected by disease or disabilty, take time to donate of volunteer on your loved one’s behalf.  Perhaps support a group that hasn’t directly affected you or a loved one, simply to reach out and learn while helping.
  25. October 10, 2024 – Assist a Domestic Violence Shelter Offer your time or resources to a domestic violence shelter, helping survivors rebuild their lives.
  26. October 24, 2024 – Organize a Community Cleanup Rally or simply join others in your community to clean up a neglected area, making it safer and more inviting for everyone.
  27. November 8, 2024 – Help a Children’s Hospital Donate toys, art supplies, or funds to a children’s hospital. Bringing joy to young patients is a heartwarming endeavor.
  28. November 22, 2024 – Thanksgiving Again! Celebrate Thanksgiving by volunteering at a local soup kitchen or providing meals to families in need.
  29. December 10, 2024 – Sponsor a Family for the Holidays Support a less fortunate family during the holiday season by providing gifts, groceries, or other necessities.
  30. December 25, 2024 – Christmas Giving Continue the tradition of giving by volunteering at a Christmas charity event or donating to a favorite charitable organization.
  31. December 31, 2024  Thanks for Giving!  Now look ahead and plan to do more in the year 2025!  Look at all you’ve done, and ask yourself what you enjoyed doing the most.  Plan on more of it.  Ask yourself what you’d like to learn about, and see if there’s a way to learn while serving.  Do you notice how nicely this will tie in with New Year’s Resolutions a little over a year from now?

Happy Thanksgiving - Spirit of givingThese acts of kindness in a true spirit of giving can have a lasting and meaningful impact on your family, friends, and community, aligning you with your spirit of giving not only during Thanksgiving but throughout the entire year. Remember, the benefits extend beyond those you help; they also enrich your own life and contribute to a stronger, more caring society.

We welcome you to share your ideas in the “Spirit of Giving” in the comments below.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Please contact us with questions.  Best to callemail or visit our site for the best response.  We do invite you to engage with us on social media (just not for immediate needs). As always, if you like, you will find us on the following social media sites, among many others:


Thanks to our friends & vendors at for sharing this post with us, so we could share it with you!  WisX, in turn, thanks Paul Haut of and Mark Mullarky of who – each in their own spirit of giving – gave us the ideas for these holiday blog posts!

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Happy New Year 2022 Goals

Happy New Year 2022 Image to illustrate blog

Our goal, first and foremost, is to wish all of our visitors a Happy New Year 2022!

Just as importantly, we share proven techniques to make your resolutions for a Happy New Year 2022 reality for you.  We share three steps to achieving your goals: SMART Goals, Zig Ziglar, and Becoming Your Best when you Do What Matters Most.


The November 1981 issue of Management Review contained a paper by George T. Doran called There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives.[1][4] It discussed the importance of objectives and the difficulty of setting them.

Ideally speaking, each corporate, department, and section objective should be:

  • Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable – specify who will do it.
  • Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.

Notice that these criteria don’t say that all objectives must be quantified on all levels of management. In certain situations, it is not realistic to attempt quantification, particularly in staff middle-management positions. Practicing managers and corporations can lose the benefit of a more abstract objective in order to gain quantification. It is the combination of the objective and its action plan that is really important. Therefore serious management should focus on these twins and not just the objective.

— George T. Doran, There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives[1][4]
Zig Ziglar, a favorite of mine for decades, offers insight and motivation.  I found his voice grating at first (after purchasing audio of him on cassette tapes back in the 70s or 80s).  That bit of irritation quickly subsided when I relaxed and enjoyed the sincerity and wisdom and folksy rhythm of his words.
Zig Ziglar has 7 Steps to goal setting, outlined here (a 2-3 minute read).
Google (search terms: smart goals zig ziglar) listed them succinctly:
Zig Ziglar, an American motivational speaker, pulled together a list of seven steps associated with goal setting (or goal achievement). They are: Identification, Benefits, Obstacles, Skills, People, Plan and Timelines.
Jul 27, 2021

Do What Matters Most

That subheading is also a favorite book of 2021, Do What Matters Most.  
I’m big on goal setting, list making, and reading.  Do What Matters Most pleasantly combined all of them.  Google (search term: do what matters most) gave this description:
Do What Matters Most is a practical book on how to identify what matters most in your life then focusing on making it happen and increasing your productivity. The big 3 high performance habits of leading with a vision, setting your roles and goals, and pre-week planning are the basis for this book.
This book presents you with an approach summed up in the title: Do What Matters Most is a great at reminding you that, in addition to professional achievement, what really matters most is usually family and other loved ones.  Helping clients is great, helping family members and friends is just as important. Recognizing and planning for both the personal and professional matters.  This book, discussed at, can help you balance the personal and professional missions of your life.

Happy New Year 2022!

Our sincere best wishes to you and yours ~ may health, happiness and prosperity be yours in the New Year!


Keith Klein
Organizer, Wisconsin Business Owners
Founder & CEO, OnYourMark, LLC

We welcome your comments, questions and suggestions.  Please contact us with questions.  Best to callemail or visit our site for the best response.  We do invite you to engage with us on social media (just not for immediate needs).  As always, if you like, you will find us on the following social media sites, among many others:

Happy New Year 2022 image from