Setting SMART Goals
Last month I talked about Living with Intention and setting goals. This month I want to delve into that a little more and talk about the best way to set goals in order to be successful. Goals are great, if we make them accessible, and the best way to do that is with a SMART goal. If I said I wanted to “eat healthier,” that is a great goal. But what does that really mean? How will I know if I have been successful? My definition of “healthier” might be different than someone else’s. It might mean eating more fruits and vegetables. Or it could mean eating less sugar. It could mean increasing my water intake. It could mean smaller portions. Who really knows, right? It is too vague. This leads us to our first letter!
S stands for specific. Your goal must be specific. I want to eat healthier becomes: I want to eat more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. This is a great start! Let’s make it even better with our next letter.
M stands for measurable. What does “more” mean? You can say: I want to eat 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruits a day. Great goal. Also, possibly a very big goal if you are starting from no fruits or vegetables a day. So you could say: 1 serving of vegetables, and 1 serving of fruit everyday. Perfect! It is quantifiable. You can measure it. You will know if you have reached your goal if you have had that specific amount in a day. Let’s go back to the 3 and 2 example. You have to make sure your goal goes with our next letter.
A stands for attainable. If you are starting from zero, jumping to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, everyday, is going to be hard. It is doable, but hard and might not be attainable at first. Now, suppose my goal was to be a WNBA player. Never going to happen. It might be a very nice goal. Except that I am 5’6”, in my 40s, and I have never played basketball in my life. That goal is absolutely not attainable for me. So maybe I modify it and just say I want to learn how to play basketball. Attainable.
R stands for realistic. This letter really ties in attainable and is related to measurable. Suppose I want to continue with that basketball example. I want to learn how to play basketball and I am going to do this by practicing everyday for an hour. That is specific, it is measurable, an hour isn’t too long, so, attainable, but for me, and my life, it is totally not realistic. I am a mom, a wife, I am training for a marathon, I run a business and make inventory, I’m a flight attendant, I drive my son to school, I help him with his homework, I pay bills, I do laundry, I clean house, I pull weeds. There is absolutely NO way I can dedicate an hour a day to practicing basketball. But I could maybe practice 10 minutes a day. If that was a really important goal to me, I could figure out a way to make it happen, as long as it is realistic.
T stands for time. Have a timeframe for when you want to accomplish this goal by. Every goal really needs to have a target date to help motivate you and keep you on track. I want to eat 1 serving of fruit and 1 serving of vegetables for one full week. I want to lose 5 pounds by August. I want to learn how to play the guitar by my wedding anniversary so I can surprise my spouse with a serenade.
This guide should be able to help you with just about any goal you could come up with!
Happy goal setting!!!