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Einstein was right when he said, “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things”.
“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” A. EinsteinClick To Tweet
Goals are an important part of our lives. Without goals, you don’t have the focus and the direction to make your life great.
A life without a purpose won’t give you any motivation and won’t get you anywhere. However, having a goal without any plan to fulfil it, is not much different.
You need to set goals because this will give your life a direction and help you understand if you are actually succeeding.
In other words, you need to know what you really want and have a plan in place.
If you have ever set a goal but have never reached it, don’t worry, you are not alone.
Statistics report that only 8% of people who set goals actually achieve them.
The biggest problem is that people don’t set goals the right way. They stay too general but if you don’t have the right directions you won’t go anywhere.
So, you need to be S.M.A.R.T. on setting your goals!
Having a direction on setting your goals will set you up for success. You can’t just say your goals aloud and hope for the best. Your goals need to have some characteristics if you want to achieve them.
S.M.A.R.T. goal setting is a technique introduced for the first time by Doran in “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives” which makes the process of goal setting more efficient and productive.
Let’s check together what a goal has to have to be S.M.A.R.T.
Table of Contents
What S.M.A.R.T. goal actually means
There are different versions of the acronym but they all have the same significance:
Specific (also sensible or significant)
Measurable (also meaningful or motivating)
Achievable (also agreed or attainable)
Relevant (also reasonable or realistic)
Time-bound (also time-limited or time-sensitive)
Setting your goal following these guidelines not only makes you clear on what you really want but also shows you the way to achieve it.Be S.M.A.R.T. on setting your goals!Click To Tweet
How to set a specific goal
A goal that is too vague and generic won’t be helpful as it won’t give you the direction that you need to achieve it.
If you make your goal specific you will know exactly what the end result should be and you can reach it without wasting energy.
A goal to be specific has to state in a precise way what you want to achieve, why it is an important goal and what you intend to do to accomplish it.
This is important firstly because you can understand if that goal is really important for you and especially so you know exactly what to do to reach your goal.
Let’s use health as an example. Everyone has had a health goal at least once in their life.
Just stating “I want to be healthy” won’t get you very far.
You should ask yourself questions such as: What do you mean with being healthy? Do you want to do more sport? Do you want to eat better? Do you want to lose weight?
You need to be as specific as you can. Let’s say that you want to incorporate more exercising in your life. You should ask yourself why do you want to do that? Do you want to feel more active or do you want to get ready for some competitions?
Being specific will help you decide which steps to take next to accomplish your goal. Getting ready for the NY marathon requires a different kind of exercise and intensity than being more active so that you can play with your children more often.
Once you know your why, the final result that you want to achieve, you need to be specific on how you are going to obtain the result.
If you decided to run the NY marathon, probably you should start walking more often. Write down when and where you plan to walk: maybe you decide that every morning at 7, before going to work, you will walk for one hour around the park close to your house.
The more specific you are when you set your goal the easier it will be come up with a plan to achieve it.Click To Tweet
How to set a measurable goal
You not only need to be able to determine if you are successful on achieving your goal but also track yourself on the way to success to see if you are making the right efforts.
Having some milestone in your plan to accomplish something not only motivates you every time you reach one of them but it’s also a good indicator that you are on the right track.
What you need to do to make your goal measurable is to include precise amounts, dates and so on in your plan to succeed.
In the example above you should plan out some indicator that you are going in the right direction.
Maybe you want to be able to add a kilometre every week of training or you want to be able to run a specific distance by a specific date.
If you want to succeed at your goal you need to keep track of your progress.Click To Tweet
It doesn’t really matter what kind of measurement you choose, but it’s really important that you keep track of your progress.
How to set an achievable goal
If the goal that you want to achieve is not realistic you probably are setting yourself up for failure.
If you set a goal that is impossible to achieve you are only demoralizing yourself. On the other hand, if you set a goal that is too easy to accomplish you are only wasting your time.
You need to set realistic, but still challenging goals. You do need goals to push yourself.
Think about what you need along the way to make your goal achievable. What skill do you need? Do you have the time to make your goal possible? Do you need the help of someone else along the way?
How to set a relevant goal
The letter R of the acronym SMART is often used for realistic which means that your goal needs to have the right amount of challenge.
You need to know that you actually can achieve that goal. If you are obese and give yourself six weeks to get ready for the NY marathon probably your goal is not realistic.
Another characteristic that is associated with the letter R is relevant. This means that your goal has to be aligned with the direction that you give to your overall life.
If a goal fits well in the idea of the life aim that you want for yourself, this will keep you focused to obtain what you really want.
In other words, a goal to be considered relevant should make sense, measured against what your values in life are and what you really what to achieve in your life model.
How to set time-bound goals
Every goal should be limited by a period of time. You can set goals for weeks, months or even years ahead but having a specific deadline is really important in order to commit to achieving the goal.
Having your goal set to be achieved on a specific date will create focus and a sense of urgency.
If you have a deadline and you don’t accomplish what you planned for a given milestone you know that you are behind. You will then get more focused in order to achieve your goal.
If you don’t give yourself a timeframe you will possibly constantly procrastinate.
Don’t give yourself too much time to reach your goal otherwise you risk getting bored and then will lose your momentum.
However, don’t pretend to accomplish your goal within too little time otherwise your goal will become unrealistic.
The good thing about the S.M.A.R.T. goal technique is that each step builds upon the other and at the end of the process you know
- Which goal you want to achieve?
- Why you want to achieve that specific goal?
- Is that goal actually achievable?
- Is that goal really relevant to your overall life?
- By when do you want to reach your goal?
Once you have everything clearly determined you know each action you have to take to reach your goal and you are heading in the right direction for success.