What Exactly Are SMART Goals?

By April 7, 2017Uncategorized

What Exactly Are SMART Goals?

5 Things You Must Do

There are countless formulas for setting goals. I happen to like one called SMART Goals. SMART is an acrostic for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable and Time-Limited. Let’s examine these characteristics one by one.

Specific Goals

A marksman cannot hit a target he cannot see. Similarly, when we cannot see what we are shooting for, it is nearly impossible to focus our efforts and determination. Therefore, your goal must be specific.

Suppose your goal is to lose weight. As it stands, that’s not very specific. Unless you add an amount of weight to the goal (a target), you will have no way of knowing if you achieve the goal. However, if you say “I want to lose 20 pounds,” you now have a specific goal, a visible target.

Here are some more examples:

  • Non-specific goal: I will spend more time with my family.
    • Specific goal: Once every two weeks I will have a date night with my spouse. Each week I will have five hours of uninterrupted time with my children.
  • Non-Specific goal: I will save more money for retirement.
    • Specific goal: I will have saved $10,000 by this time next year.
  • Non-Specific goal: I will make a lot of money in my network marketing business.
    • Specific goal: Within the next 90 days of my business, I will have advanced to the next level and will have increased my monthly income by 50 percent.
Measurable Goals

Once your goal is specific, it becomes measurable. “Specific” and “measurable” sound a lot alike and the difference between the two can be a bit confusing. “Measurable” pertains to the progress you make toward your goal. In other words, can you develop a scorecard to see how you’re doing on a daily, weekly or monthly basis? If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, you might make a chart that tracks how much weight you lose each week.

Your progress is not the only thing you want to measure. You also want to gauge your effort. If you have decided that losing weight will require you to eat less, you need to define how much less. If you intend to exercise, you need to determine how long and how often. If you determine that growing your business will require you to do more prospecting, you need to determine how many people you will prospect and how often. These things become part of your plan of action.

Attainable Goals

When it comes to setting goals, we often overreach. This is particularly true when we’re in a highly emotional state. Consequently, we set a goal that is unattainable. Let’s go back to the example of losing weight. An extremely overweight person might, in a tearful state, say “I’m tired of living this way! I’m going to lose 100 pounds in the next 30 days!”

Is that goal attainable? In other words, is this something a human being is capable of accomplishing? The answer is “No;” it is not humanly possible. You may initially believe that you can lose 100 pounds in 30 days, but it won’t be long before you realize that you cannot.

And, once a goal is judged to be unattainable, our ability to believe in it is dead. We become frustrated and discouraged. We may even lose faith in the goal-setting process itself.

It is imperative that we believe in our goals with all our heart, such that the mere mention of them makes our spirit leap with excitement. For this to be possible (and remain possible), our goals must be attainable.

We’re not saying goals should be easy. A goal that doesn’t challenge us does not produce significant change. We need to set goals that are just outside our grasp, that cause us to stretch ourselves.

While a goal of losing 100 pounds in 30 days is not attainable, the goal of losing 100 pounds in 12 months is. Losing that much weight in a year will require extraordinary effort and commitment, but it is certainly attainable.

As you develop your goals, be sure that they are goals you can believe in and will not cause you to become disillusioned down the road.

Realistic Goals

Once you have determined your goal is attainable, you must ask yourself if it is realistic. “Realistic” sounds almost the same as “attainable,” but as applied in this case is much different. While “attainable” asks if something can humanly be done, “realistic” asks if a particular person can do it.

Your goal may be attainable, but is it realistic for you to achieve? Can you do it given the time and resources you have available? Do you have the necessary skills? What about your habits and past behaviors? Have you proved to be someone who goes after goals with passion and tenacity, or do you give it a half-hearted attempt?

For you to lose 100 pounds in 12 months, you must be willing to invest the required time in exercise, in learning about nutrition, in shopping for and preparing healthy foods, and in doing all of this for an extended period of time. If you don’t have the time, money and conviction to tackle such a large goal, you might consider starting with a smaller one. Instead of losing 100 pounds in 12 months, try 50 pounds.

When setting a goal, be honest with yourself. Ask yourself if you have the necessary resources, abilities, and passion to achieve the goal within the given time frame. Be realistic.

Time-Limited Goals

You must tie your goal to time; it has to have a deadline. Goals that have no time limit are rarely accomplished. Making our goals time-limited is the truest barometer of how serious we are about them. Without deadlines, there is no accountability.

The moment we tie our goal to time, a silent timer starts ticking in our subconscious. It becomes a game of Beat The Clock. Our mind tells us to get working so we don’t fall behind. As we get close to the goal, we keep working because we want to complete the challenge.

Always, always tie your goals to time.

Rod Brandt

Author Rod Brandt

Rodney Brandt is a lifelong storyteller who helps others find their voice, tell their story, and inspire others.

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