Create smarter goals for success
The old adage is that if you want to do something it helps greatly to have a goal for how to get there. It’s a nice simple statement that leaves a lot to be desired. As all goals are not the same.
Most goals are short and sweet. They are a forward looking view of how we want things to be. Generally they start with “I want…”, I want pizza for dinner, I want a sports car, I want to lose weight, I want a promotion at work. I even have a few of my own. I want to lose weight.
But the goal is lacking. “I want to lose weight” is a goal you could keep for the rest of your life and never reach it. But why?
Simple short goals are easy to ignore, to not make progress on, and still keep them as goals. “Lose weight” is something I can always aspire to, regardless of my current weight. The same is true of many “I want” goals. Even after you get your promotion there is another one waiting around the corner. It’s possible to reach your goals with simple short desires, but there is a better way. Smart goals.
S.M.A.R.T goals are a set of guidelines by which a goal can be judged to see if it’s a good goal. S.M.A.R.T stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Good goals should have each of these specific criteria.
Goals must be specific. Very specific. It’s not enough to want a goal, you have to know exactly what you want. What sports car make and model? What color? Stick or automatic? A vague goal will get you vague results. Deciding exactly what you want will give you a greater change in achieving exactly that.
How do you know you’ve reached your goal if you can’t measure it? How much weight have you lost, how much more do you need to lose to meet your goal? When you measure your goal you know more about where you are and where you’re going. And how much more you need to get there. All things that will help you finally achive your goal.
I want to fly to the moon. I probably can’t. I could become an astronaute. But I’m old and not fit enough to be an astronaute. Is becoming an astronaut a real posibility for me? Probably not. Goals that are not atainable are not real goals. They are daydreams. It is better to realize this and move on.
Is your goal relevant to you? does it make sense? Does it fit?
Goals must be time-bound. Setting a deadline helps motivate you. When you’re measuring your progress and it looks like you might come up short for your deadline you start to adjust your plan to hit your deadline. It’s easy to put off a goal when it’s due sometime in the future. It’s not so easy when you have a concrete date and time.
Lose one pound per week from now until July 2014 by regulating the food that I eat and doing light exercise.
- Record my weight every day.
- Contemplate on my weight and what I have eaten on previous days.
- Record how often, and how far, I walk.
- Stretch in the morning. Record how often I stretch.