It’s that time of year… The New Year… where everyone seems to be making resolutions and goals. Regardless of what your goal is; whether it’s to be tidier at home, eat a little healthier, or get on top of your debt, there are SMART ways you can set yourself up for success.
What is SMART Goal Setting?
SMART is an acronym that helps you make goals that you’re more likely to actually follow through on. It helps you to create structure around the goals you want to set and provides you with accountability for tracking your goals.
Setting your goals
So think of a goal you may want to achieve, whether personal or professional. Write down your basic goal on the worksheet provided below, and then let’s make your goal SMARTer using each step.
WHAT exactly do you want to achieve? See how you can make your description more specific. See if you can identify the who, what, where, when and why of your goal.
For example, instead of “I want to be healthier this year”, first identify what healthy means to you. What does it mean to be able to walk up the stairs without being winded? Does it mean being able to run a 5k in a certain time frame? Also, why do you want to achieve this goal of being healthier? Will it allow you to have more energy for your kids? Is it ward off any potential health problems? Remember, the more specific, the better!
It’s important to make your goal measurable in some way; if you don’t, how will you know you’re making progress? It’s also helpful to break your ultimate goal down into “mini goals”.
For example, if your goal is to start eating healthier, perhaps the first step is to add a certain amount of vegetables to at least one meal per day for a week. Then two weeks later, your goal might be to increase either the amount of vegetables or the amount of meals containing vegetables. By further defining how you will measure your goal, you make it easier and more likely to reach.
It may sound like a silly question, but is the goal you’ve set for yourself actually attainable for YOU? If your goal is to start running, and you’ve never been a runner, aiming to run a marathon within 3 months may not be a realistic goal for you. It’s important to weigh the cons of the effort, time and other costs your goal may have against the pros and other life obligations you may have.
This doesn’t mean you can’t take something that may seem impossible and make it possible, it just means you may need to plan and prepare a bit more to make it happen.
Realistic & Relevant
Is reaching your goal realistic and relevant to you? Do you actually want this originally stated goal in addition to everything else you already have in place in your life? The main question here is WHY do you want to reach your goal? What is the objective behind the goal, and is the goal relevant to the desired objectives?
For example, if your goal is to hire more people in your department at work so that your department will get more done, maybe take some time to think about if a certain number of people really will help your department perform better and get more done. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, but only you can decide that.
If you never set yourself a deadline, you’re less likely to ever reach the goal you’ve set for yourself. Try to set deadlines for both your mini-goals and ultimate goal. Be sure to keep the timeline realistic and flexible though. Being too stringent on your timeline can make you feel rushed and frustrated.
Want to learn more ways to mind yourself, and improve your physical and mental wellbeing?
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