When you say that you have a goal, what do you mean? Is it something like, “I want to save some money to go on a vacation”? Or maybe, “I want to start my own business some day.” Or even just, “I want to eat healthier.”
When most people talk about their goals, they’re talking in vague terms. The problem with these kinds of “goals” is that they’re not specific and you can’t tell when you’ve actually reached them.
Actually, you never will achieve them, because you haven’t set any Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Time-sensitive goals. All you’ve done is make a wish.
If you used SMART goals, “I want to eat healthier” would turn into, “I am going to lower my daily fat consumption by removing fast food from my diet for the next 6 months.”
This is a very specific goal: you’re focusing on your daily fat intake and one particular source of unhealthy food. It’s also measurable, since you can attach a number to the goal, such as “45 grams per day.” You’re able to take steps to achieve this goal, like avoiding fast food restaurants, which makes it action-oriented. It’s also realistic, instead of something like, “I’m going to lose 15 pounds in two weeks.” And you’ve set a time limit for yourself.
You’ve just made a SMART goal. One that you can take steps to achieve and, when your timeline is up, you can look back and say, “I reached my goal.” In turn, that’s going to motivate you to set more goals. Maybe your next goal will be, “I’m going to lower my daily sugar intake by removing soft drinks from my diet for the next 8 months.”
As you go through this series of SMART goals, all of which are short-term, meaning less than 1 year in length, you’ll eventually reach your original goal: “I want to become healthier.” By using SMART goals, you can take that huge, seemingly-unreachable goal and break it down into small, realistic steps. Then when you get to the top of the staircase that you’ve created, you can look back and say, “I achieved my goal.”
What’s a SMART goal that you’re going to set for yourself?