Our goals get sidetracked due to distractions, unforeseen events, or just because we lack discipline. Let’s face it: It is easier to plan than to do. That is life.
Is there a better way to achieve goals? Yes, you need SMART goals.
“S” stands for Specific. Define exactly what you will do! Be 100% clear.
“M” stands for Measurable: As Peter Drucker said: “What gets measured gets managed.” You must manage your progress. So, the goal must be measurable.
“A” stands for Attainable. Ideally, the goal is outside your grasp, but within your reach. It is bold but not impossible.
“R” stands for Relevant; in other words, the goal moves you closer to your overall mission.
You cannot do everything, so focus on what matters most. Stay relevant.
“T” is for Timely. You need milestones and deadlines to measure progress. Deadlines give us structure and discipline. This is part of being specific and measurable.
Let’s look at a goal that is not SMART: “I will get myself into better shape.” Really? What does ‘better shape’ mean? What is the timeline? How will I get into shape? Yes, this is a worthwhile goal, but it is not SMART, so it will probably fail. How would you make this goal SMART?
I will get in shape by:
- Walking or jogging at least 20 minutes, three times a week.
- Doing a standard set of ten reps for each of the seven muscle groups. I’ll do this three times a week, on days I am not jogging, or walking.
- I will review my progress on both these activities every Sunday. And I will score myself on a scale of 1 – 5.
Okay, this goal is basic, but it is SMART. I know what to do, when, and how it will be measured. Over time, I may add exercises (bringing in some nutrition and sleep targets, too). Maybe I will reward myself with a smoothie for achieving a perfect score of 5. Get the picture?
When goals are SMART, you boost your success. True, you may need to break goals into smaller chunks, with deadlines for each step. But those steps must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. A goal without a plan is a dream.
Turn your dreams into reality by being SMART.