Saturday, January 2, 2016

Setting SMART Goals

“A goal is not always meant to be reached,
it often serves simply as something to aim at.”
~ Bruce Lee

Another quote that I’ve always liked, which has a similar sentiment is this:  “Shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you’ll still be among the stars.” Both are true. However, the topic of this post is a different truth – that setting a goal is more than just deciding to do something.

If you’re going to set a goal, be SMART about it:  be Specifc, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This has become a common acronym for goal-setting, but let’s take a few minutes to really analyze what each component entails. First, we’ll turn to a favorite resource of mine – the dictionary.

specific:  having a special appreciation, bearing, or reference; specifying, explicit, or definite; to state one’s specific purpose.

measurable:  capable of being measured

attainable:  capable of being attained

relevant:  bearing upon or connected with the matter in hand; pertinent

time-bound:  bound by time (this one wasn’t in the dictionary)

Now we’ll circle back to setting goals. First of all, when you decide on a goal, be specific. Right down exactly what you hope to accomplish in explicit terms. Use details. Try different ways of explaining and expressing your thoughts and then choose one, the most precise, and that will be your starting point.

Next, to make sure your goal is measurable and attainable, create for yourself a series of steps you will follow to reach the goal. Then, spend some time examining the relevance of your goal to your life. Does it lead to positive changes? Will it help you grow, or benefit someone close to you?

Finally, it’s very important to put the steps on a timeline. There are different types of goals – short-term and long-term. It won’t be helpful to try reaching a long-term goal in a short period of time, so be reasonable when setting dates and times for each step. And don’t forget to be flexible!

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