What are SMART Goals and How to Set Them?

Blog Lifestyle What are SMART Goals and How to Set Them?

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11.19.2019 0 comments

How many times have you set yourself a goal—whether a New Year’s resolution or just a random mid-year goal—only to feel disappointed when you fail to reach it? We’ve all had times when we tried our best but things just didn’t work out. You might be surprised to find that it was the goal itself that led to your failing!

Yes, goals are sometimes too hard to reach. Not for lack of trying, but for lack of planning.

Think about it:

  • If you say, “I want to lose weight”, you have a nebulous, unquantifiable goal in your mind—one you’re never really going to reach. Of course you’re going to fail!

  • If you say, “I want to lose 5 pounds in 3 weeks”, suddenly you have a tangible number that you can strive for, one that is not only realistic, but likely to be accomplished. Your chance of success just rose drastically!

If you’re sitting down to plan anything, it’s time to think about making SMART goals. What does SMART mean?

S stands for Specific – The more specific the goal, the easier it is to focus on what you need to do to achieve it. You need to think who, what, when, where, how, and why, and give each some serious examination as you plan your goals.

M stands for Measurable –Anything you can quantify (5% revenue increase, 10 pounds lost, running a 5K race, etc.) can be tracked and measured, which allows you to break them down into specific bite-size pieces. For example, if your goal is to run a 5K race and you discover that you can already run 2.5K before running out of steam, you know exactly how much more you need to run (2.5K). It’s easy to break it down into smaller pieces (250 meters more per week over the next 10 weeks) to achieve that goal!

A stands for Achievable –If you set yourself a goal of “earning $1 million in 2 months”, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Goals that aren’t achievable or realistic will get you nowhere, and they’ll end up being one more objective that you failed to reach. So it’s time to think about goals you can actually achieve, things that are realistic for you to accomplish given your time, resources, and capabilities. You should be inspired by the knowledge that you can reach that goal, and that inspiration can be a driving force to help get you over the finish line.

R stands for Relevant –The goal should be aligned with what you’re working towards or trying to achieve. Let’s say your overall objective is fitness and weight loss. You might not be worrying about setting goals for your meditation practice or driving habits. Instead, you’ll be focused on things that are relevantto your overall objective—in this case, cleaning up your eating habits, spending more time exercising, and so on. A goal that is irrelevant will quickly lose interest, and that’s when you start on the path to failure.

T stands for Time-Bound –If we don’t give ourselves a deadline, we’re far less likely to feel the pressure to work at our goals—and trust me, you’ll need to work to reach them! If your goal was easy to accomplish, you wouldn’t be reading this post. You’re here because you’ve been struggling with something big, something that is looming over you. With a time-bound goal, you’ve got a deadline approaching, so you feel the urgency to put in the time every day and every week. Whether it’s exercise, financial planning, saving, or doing something important, making your goals time-bound is critical for actually making it happen.

How to Set SMART Goals

Setting SMART goals is easy, as you have the five elements (listed above) that help you figure out the goals to set.

When you sit down, here’s what you need to think about:

  1. Is the goal specific? Can you narrow down your target more? Can you focus on the specific outcome? The more specific the goal, the better!

  2. Is the goal measurable?Can you quantify the achievement at the end, or is it too vague? Once it’s measured, you can break it down into smaller bite-sized pieces to achieve every day, week, and month.

  3. Is the goal achievable?Can you realistically do it or are you setting yourself up to fail?

  4. Is the goal relevant?How important is this goal to your life or work? The more relevant, the more interested you’ll be in seeing it succeed.

  5. Is the goal time-bound? What’s a realistic deadline? Time is the final element needed to drive you over the finish line!

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