Is there a change you want to make in your life? Sometimes it seems like there is no way to fit our goals into our daily lives, and it can be really difficult to break away from routine and actually do that thing you’ve been meaning to do. It may be past the time of New Year resolutions, but it’s never too late to start fresh and set that new goal for yourself.
In order to set a goal that will have a lasting impact and to get to where we want to be, our goals should be SMART—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. Setting smart goals encourages us to stick with our goals and prevents us from feeling disappointed for not accomplishing the changes we are trying to make.
As you read this post, think of something in your life that you would like to work toward, no matter how big or small. Follow these simple steps to set yourself up for success.
If your goal is specific then you’ll know exactly what you’re working towards. When you set a goal, make sure it answers the five “W” questions. Who? What? When? Where? Why? Think about questions like, Who else could be involved? What do I want to accomplish? Where will this occur? What is going to stand in my way? Why am I setting this goal? What is the benefit of accomplishing my goal?
Example: Rather than making a goal to “get in better shape,” make a specific goal to “buy a gym membership and work out at the gym.”
2. Make sure that your goal is measurable.
If your goal is measurable, it will answer questions like: How much? How many? How will I know when I’ve accomplished it? What is the finish line?
Having goals you can measure with concrete numbers makes it easier to keep track of your progress with your goal. You want to make sure you have a way to know when you’ve accomplished your goal.
Example: Let’s build upon our previous example. Add a specific measure like, “buy a gym membership and work out 3 times a week after work.”
3. Make a goal that’s attainable.
Make sure your goal is realistic based on your present situation. For example, don’t set a goal to workout 7 days a week if you haven’t exercised in 10 years.
I’m not saying that your goal has to be small, just make sure you’re prepared to make the commitment! Don’t be afraid to shoot for the moon, expand your abilities, and embrace new opportunities that will bring you closer to your goal. Sometimes we have to be willing to make sacrifices, change our attitude, and grow our abilities and skills in order to reach our goals.
In fact, you may be more likely to stick with a larger goal versus a smaller goal. The reason? We become more devoted and invested in large goals and are more likely to remember and stick to them. Also, remember that setting small goals along the way still matters because it’s those small steps and little everyday habits that often lead to big changes in our lives.
Example: Thinking about our previous example, you would need to consider whether this is possible with your life or if you will need extra motivators like gym buddies or a workout class.
4. Have a relevant goal.
A relevant goal is a goal that you are willing to work toward—a goal that you truly believe in. For example, don’t make a goal to run a marathon if you hate running!
Make a goal you’re truly passionate about that’s relevant to your life’s reality.
Example: Continuing to build off of our example, make sure going to the gym is most relevant thing for your life. If the gym makes you feel uncomfortable, maybe you need to consider running, yoga at home, or walking 3 times a week instead.
5. Be sure to set a time frame on your goal.
Your smart goal is not complete without a time frame, a deadline, or date of completion.
Setting a time frame gives us incentive and a sense of urgency or internal pressure to accomplish the goal. It supports the seriousness of the goal you’ve set. For example, it’s easier to work toward achieving a goal in two months versus achieving a goal “someday.”
Example: Finally, let’s set a time frame on our example goal. “Buy a gym membership and work out 3 times a week after work for the next 4 weeks.”
Once you’ve crafted your goal, write it down and post it in a place you will see multiple times during the day: a post-it note on your mirror, in your planner, etc.
Be proud of yourself for setting a new goal—setting your goal is the first step, so congratulations! You are already off to a good start. Cultivate positivity and remember the journey is the reward.
I’ve listed to examples of SMART goals to get you thinking:
Do a palates video at home 2 days a week for the next 2 months.
Cook dinner totally from scratch 2 times this week.
Eat 4 different types of veggies every day for the next 10 days.
Meditate for 15 minutes every morning this week.
Bring a healthy snack and completely avoid the candy bowl every day at work this week.
What’s your SMART goal? Let us know in the comments below.