In previous posts, we have talked about looking at our goals in a different way and, the powerful impact of actually writing down our goals.
Today I want to explain some basic principles of how to structure a goal.
I think that you’d all agree that there is a big difference between a wish and a goal. When I think of a wish, I think of big ideas and dreams, but I also think of words like vague, and unrealistic. A wish seems to keep us locked in the castle, waiting for someone to rescue us. A well written goal on the other hand, is challenging, motivating and empowering.
How do you take your dreams and desires for the new year and transform them into goals that inspire and motivate? The answer lies in how we structure of our written goals.
There is a simple acronym that represents a roadmap for how to structure our goals. The acronym is S.M.A.R.T. Each letter represents an important aspect of our effectively structured goals:
Now let’s break down each component of a SMART goal:
Specific – This refers to how detailed and focused we are about our goal. When we get specific about our goal, we gain clarity about what we really want. If you want to lose weight, it’s much better to say, “I want to lose 20 pounds”.
Measurable – If you merely say that you want to work out more this year, it’s going to be difficult to measure your success toward this goal. Alternatively, if you declare that your goal is to work out at least four times per week, then you’ve got a measurable goal – and something against which to gauge your progress.
Achievable – This aspect of a well written goal keeps you from setting some goal that is totally unreasonable to attain. It is good to set a goal that stretches you to the next level of achievement, but unrealistic goals tend to discourage and dishearten the haphazard goal setter.
Realistic – It’s wise to ask yourself if a goal is realistic. Is it within your financial means to set such a goal. Does it require the unhealthy neglect of an important relationship? If so, then you need to rethink the goal.
Timely – This refers to incorporating a “by when” element into your goal. If you want to lose 20 pounds, then a better way to specify the goal is to express “I want to lose 20 pounds by June 1st”. Setting a due date is an important part of any goal; without it, we are never sure that we are on track for success.
There you have it. A simple acronym to help you formulate your specific goals. When you sit down to consider your goals for the year. Take one at a time and sift them through the sieve of the SMART acronym. This simple strategy will help you create goals that propel you to greater achievement in the new year.