Achieving your dreams can always seem like a daunting task. I mean, it makes sense. It is your dream, after all. It shouldn’t be easy. The trick, though, is how to go about making your dreams a reality. And that is the place where goals and goal setting come into play. They are the roadmap for reaching the stars. Your personal compass directing you to what you want in life. But just how do you even go about setting great goals that can provide you with a clear direction? Well, that is exactly what I’m going to talk about in today’s blog post. We will discuss the SMART goals framework. I’ve used this framework countless times, and it has helped in innumerable ways. How does it work? Let me break it down.
The acronym SMART is used for creating a personal goal you want to achieve. It is a method to outline in clear terms what you want to accomplish and ways to measure progress. Each letter stands for a different aspect that you should consider when designing a goal.
S = Specific. When writing out a goal, you need to ensure it is specific and narrow. This helps you avoid trying to attain something that is far too broad and can make you lose focus. As an example, let’s say you are trying to lose some weight. Instead of writing down “Lose weight,” you should instead be more specific, like “lose ten pounds.” Doing this will give you a solid end to what you are trying to attain and help you stay focused on getting it.
M = Measurable. Define what evidence you will be using that proves you are making progress. For our weight example, you would track it by the pounds you’ve lost. If you were trying to improve your running, you could measure it by how many miles you run in a day. Whatever it is, make sure you can reliably measure improvements.
A = Attainable. Make sure you can reasonably achieve your goals within a certain timeframe. For example, saying you plan to become Mr./Mrs. Universe by next week probably won’t happen. But saying you could increase the amount you can bench press by 30% over the next year is a lot more doable. The trick is to keep it attainable yet ambitious.
R = Relevant. Your goals should align with your values and long-term objectives. Will achieving the goal you set out even help you in the long run? Or does it contradict your values? You could create a goal stating that you want to become the number one player in your friends’ weekly board game night, but does that get you closer to becoming the writer you’ve always wanted? And is the purpose of the board game night to win or have fun with friends? Consider how the goal you’ve made fits into the overall narrative of the life you want to create.
T = Timely. Set an ambitious yet realistic end date. Don’t leave your goals open-ended. It usually leads to a lack of commitment and drive to complete them. If you wanted to lose ten pounds but don’t have time you want to lose it by, you might not be as strict with your exercising and dieting. This will result in general floundering and not accomplishing anything. Always have a time you want to have your goal completed by.
That is the SMART framework in a nutshell. Whenever you are designing a great goal that will propel you in your professional or personal life, go through each item on the SMART list. Try to incorporate each element, and you will be well on your way to achieving your dreams. Making your life better is a big task, but it doesn’t have to be a complicated one. Just make sure to be SMART about it.
Until next time,