How to Set SMART Goals That Support Your Vision
In my previous article, I discussed the importance of setting goals that excite and inspire you, in this article I’ll talk about setting SMART goals.
SMART goals are the most powerful type of goals. Try using this technique for setting SMART goals… Each element of a SMART goal plays an important role in the overall process. Without each element in its place, you will find the goals you set becoming harder to achieve.
The Elements of SMART Goals:
- Specific: Define a specific goal. For example, I will exercise 30 minutes, 3 times a week is more specific and actionable than I will exercise more this week. When your goal is specific, you can schedule on your calendar the actions you need to take to reach it.
- Measurable: Evaluate how you are doing by measuring your progress. Exercising for 30 minutes is measurable by the number of minutes you actually achieve. Alternatively, your goal could be measurable in the distance you walk or run. Healthier eating could be measured by how many servings of fruit and vegetables you eat. You may need to develop your own measurement to match your goal. Any way you slice it, unless a goal is measurable, how will you know when you have achieved it?
- Attainable: The goal should be challenging, but within your ability to achieve it. Start small. When you achieve that goal, step up to a more challenging one. You can also say ACTION oriented. Without action, you do not attain your goal.
- Realistic: This goes hand in hand with attainable. Running a marathon, if you have never run before, is not likely or realistic. Know your limitations; be pragmatic about what you can accomplish. You can dream big – your ultimate goal can be the marathon – but break it down into workable, realistic goals that get you there step by step. First step: run around the block. You could also think of this R as standing for RELEVANT to your vision.
- Time Phased: Set start and completion dates. When you achieve the first goal, set another one, or create another step on the way to your ultimate goal.
To be most effective, you need to write down your goals. Otherwise, they are just daydreams or thoughts. Written goals give you a much better chance to succeed. Review your written goals daily, either in the morning before work or school, or before retiring for the night.
Finally, visualize achieving your goal. Visualization is a powerful tool. Seeing yourself achieve in your mind’s eye can inspire and motivate you to even greater success.
Review your goals to see if they are SMART goals.
If necessary, revise them to meet the criteria.
Now that you have some goals, make an action plan to achieve them. Set milestones along the way and build in some rewards to enjoy when you reach a milestone. Keep your vision at the top of your consciousness, inspiring you to keep moving forward. Be sure to engage your body (action), mind (attitude), heart (energy in motion), and spirit (direction and power). You may want to consider having an accountability partner. This should be someone who will encourage you, inspire you and confront you when you make excuses. It should also be someone who will comfort you when you really need it.
Choose your SMART goal:
Write this down…
- Pick a goal that inspires you.
- Name the actions you need to take this week to bring you closer to your goal.
- How will you measure this? How will you know you have achieved it?
- Are you confident that you can achieve your goal? Why or why not?
- What are you willing to commit – such as time, talent, resources – to achieve your goal?
- What is the first thing you can do right now to make it happen?
Based on your answers above, write a statement that delineates your goal, the steps you intend to take to achieve, and what you are willing to give and do to make it happen. Read the statement every night and every morning until you achieve your goal. Visualize its realization. As you visualize achieving your goal, try to feel whatever strong emotion you expect to feel – joy, triumph, fulfillment and pride. Feeling that emotion as you visualize will help motivate you.
While visualization is important, remember to measure your progress and track your steps on the way to each goal. Adjust your plan as necessary, but don’t stop! Visualize and take steps – you will never reach your goal if you just “wait for the magic to happen.”
This is an excerpt from my book “Embracing Change From the Inside Out”
If you’re ready to make life changes from the inside out contact me, I will help you understand how to make those changes.
You can also contact me to speak at your next event, I will adjust my topic to the needs of your audience.