How many of us have set broad New Years’ Resolution type goals and achieved and maintained them? Most of us may keep up a goal for a week or so…a month if we are lucky, and if we work really hard at self-discipline. A whole year? Forget it, right?
Well, among our friends, there does usually seem to be one person who is able to maintain their goal long-term. How are they able to do that? Most likely, whether they know it or not, these goals that they create are "SMART Goals." When we take the time out to make sure our goals are SMART, we increase our ability to achieve and maintain them.
SMART goals are:
Start with a draft goal. Here is mine: I want to work out more.
Specific: What does “work out more” mean? What does “work out” mean, and what does “more” mean? Work out – I am going to pick swimming or hiking. More – I am going to say once a week.
Measurable: How can I measure “work out” and “more”? I want to swim or hike for at least 30 minutes. And like I mentioned above, by “more,” I want to say once a week.
Attainable: Is hiking or swimming for at least 30 minutes once a week attainable for me? Yes. I love to go hiking and swimming. I grew up doing both things, so I have the necessary skill sets to do both.
Realistic: Is this goal realistic so far? Do I have time for it? Do I have the energy for it? I have not gone swimming for almost two months, but I do go hiking 2-3 times a month. So I think this goal, which is equivalent to hiking or swimming 4 times a month, is doable for me. It is also challenging enough.
Timely: What’s the time limit on my goal? With this goal, I am considering making it a weekly, bimonthly, or monthly goal. I think monthly is the best choice for me because making it weekly or bimonthly might be a little discouraging for me. I am giving myself room for error.
The final goal: I will hike or swim for at least 30 minutes once a week for the month of April.
Once you have the final goal written out, be sure to date it and create some kind of chart to track your progress! Mine are written on post-it notes all over my front door. Don’t forget to also congratulate yourself/celebrate when you take steps toward reaching your goal.
What are your SMART goals?