Updated: Jan 7, 2020
“What you think you become. What you feel you attract. What you imagine you create.” – Buddha.
To achieve a goal you need a plan.
This time of the year many people set goals or resolutions but very few people achieve them.
Why? No commitment. Meaningless. Irrelevant.
Goals must be meaningful and relevant to YOU. Once you'll know what goals you want to achieve and why you want to achieve them, you need to learn how to do it.
Welcome to the S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting Method
I have been using S.M.A.R.T. goals formula since the 2000s, and it never fails. I have written about it in "Why Not You" and "The Successful Student Mindset" and I also taught my students how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals and own their success.
If your goals are important to you then it is worthwhile your time and energy to understand how S.M.A.R.T. works.
To make sure your goals are well-defined and reachable, each one should be:
Specific ( significant, simple)
Measurable (meaningful, motivating)
Relevant (reasonable, results-based)
How to use S.M.A.R.T.
Specific - Specific goals must be clear, focused, and well-defined. A specific goal has a greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal.
When writing your goal try to answer the five "W" questions:
What do I want to achieve?
Why is this goal important?
Who is involved?
Where is it located?
What resources or limitations are involved?
Here is an example of a specific goal “I want to walk/jog 45 minutes four times a week in the morning (or after work) beginning tomorrow and be able to run a 5K in 12 weeks. A general goal would be, "I want to run a 5K this year."
Here is another example: "I want to gain the skills and experience I need to become the manager of an accounting department within my organization, so that I can build my career and lead a successful team."
Measurable - To train for a 5K (or any race) you need to be able to measure and track your progress so you'll stay motivated. For instance you may visualize yourself felling and looking amazing, running the race and again at the finish line with a medal around your neck.
A measurable goal will answer questions such as:
How will I know when it is accomplished?
A goal properly set is halfway reached." - Zig Ziglar
Attainable - One of the biggest mistakes people make while setting goals is that they set ambiguous or unattainable goals. You need to have a realistic goal that you will be able to attain. For instance, if you are a beginner, you may need more time to train for a 5K than someone who is already jogging or walking four times a week. Likewise, if you set a goal to lose 25 pounds in six months without changing your eating and exercising habits it may not be a realistic goal and you will most likely be disappointed and lose motivation and give up.
An attainable goal will answer questions such as:
How can I accomplish this goal?
How realistic is the goal based on where I am currently?
Relevant - Is running/walking a 5K relevant and meaningful to you? If your health is important to you, and I hope it is, then you will most likely exercise consistently even when you do not feel like it. Make sure your goal is relevant and realistic to you and aligns with your values. Again, I am using running a 5K as an example but it could be any goal you want to achieve.
A relevant goal will answer questions such as:
Is the goal worthwhile?
Is the right time?
Does it match my need?
Can I do it?
It is applicable to my situation?
Timely - A goal must have a starting point and an ending point. For example, I will run a 5K in 12 weeks. Perhaps, you'll want to sign up for a 5K 12 weeks in the future. That way your commitment is even more meaningful to you. You can even take another step and share your goal with everyone so you'll have the support and motivation you'll need. ( That's how I do it:)
A timely -bound goal will answer questions such as:
What can I do three or six month from now?
What can I do six weeks from now?
What can I do today?
Bonus - Reevaluate - Reward
As you develop your goals, reevaluate them and make sure each goal is still relevant and attainable. Once you accomplish your goals, have a celebration and then start developing new S.M.A.R.T. goals.
YOUR turn now:
Use this template to write your S.M.A.R.T. goals:
(I ) will (action word/s) (object of the goal) by (time) for the purpose of (relevance/results).
Write your name here
S.M.A.R.T. is an effective tool that provides the clarity, motivation and focus you need to achieve your goals. You don't need any special training and anyone can use S.M.A.R.T. to achieve their goals.
Are you ready to start a new year/a new lifestyle with a new mindset and a S.M.A.R.T. way to plan and achieve your goals and own your success?