This year instead of compiling a long list of things I want to accomplish in a 12 month span of time, a list I only ever get ½ completed mind you, I decided to compile a list of SMART Goals instead. SMART Goals are not well educated goals. (ok that was a dumb joke). SMART is actually an acronym.
Specific- Goals are detailed and focused
Measurable- Goals are quantifiable and produce a specific result.
Attainable- Goals are practical yet challenging
Realistic/Relevant- Goals specify how the results will impact and support the objectives. I have also seen R represent “relevant” which is something I also think is important to ask yourself. Other questions to ask along that same vein is “is this necessary” and “is this what I want.” Why waste your time?
Timely- Goals have clear time frames and completion dates. It’s important to have an outline/plan for how to accomplish the goals. Make sure you are checking in regularly to make sure you are on schedule for completing the goal.
Why use SMART when developing goals for yourself? Specific goals have a greater chance of getting accomplished; you are more likely to stay on track to complete the goal when progress can be measured; and creating an outline and a timeline for you goals helps you attain them.
Here is an example:
The easiest example I can give is weight loss. So let’s say you want to “lose weight.” That’s pretty general. To make it more specific you would want to determine how much weight you want to lose. Let’s say you decide you want to lose 10 lbs. Now you have your specific goal. Measuring this particular goal will be easy. Obviously you can weigh yourself throughout the process. 10lbs is a pretty reasonable goal and should be easy to attain. With weight loss, realistic expectations and time go hand in hand. So you would want to pick a time frame that would be realistic. For example they say you shouldn’t lose more then 2lbs a week. Let’s say you choose an 8 week completion date. You would need to lose 1.25lbs a week for 8 weeks in order to reach your 10 lb goal. You can measure your success once a week by weighing yourself.
Weight loss is an easy application of the SMART goals because measuring weight loss is easy. When selecting other types of goals it is important to keep in mind what the end result will “look like.” This is important. How will you know if you succeeded? How will you know if you failed? How will you know if you are on track? Making your goal as specific as possible will help you visualize what success will look like. Maybe you want to fix your finances? What does this mean for you specifically? Maybe it means you want to improve your credit score. What is your ideal credit score? Once you make your goal as specific as possible the other answers will be easier to discover. Maybe “Fix your finances” involves multiple things. Try making each one of those separate specific goals.
I’m going to get to work on my SMART goals for this coming year. Saturday is my birthday! I’m going to be 32 and I am so excited to see what this year brings!