Setting goals can be the most rewarding, and yet, the most frustrating thing you will ever do. Goal setting will be a part of our lives forever; whether you are 17 filling out your "Aptitude Test," 24 questioning your most recent career choice, or 55 and starting to plan retirement.
Being somewhat of a perfectionist, and running my own business, has lead me to read many entrepreneurial based books, and SMART Goals have helped me immensely over the years, and I'd like to share an overview with you today. (It's a quick read: you can do it ;-) )
S - stands for Specific
Get out a piece of paper or open a Word document and write down a specific goal. Specificity is super important. For example; "I want to lose weight" = Bad, "I want to lose 15 lbs by July 1st" = Good. Before you start your journey in reaching your goals, you have to know exactly what you are going for, aka 'The Big Picture'. This will help you stay focused and accountable. Many people find it helpful to create a 'dream board' where they can compile ideas and pictures on a poster board to have a visual reminder and inspiration in creating this first step. This first step will grow in specificity and length as you proceed to move through the other steps of S.M.A.R.T.
M - stands for Measurable
On that same piece of paper, write down how you are going to measure this goal. Let's keep using the weight loss goal as an example. Write down something like; "Every Saturday I am going to weigh myself on the same scale at the gym and take my hips, waist, arm, and thigh measurements when I get home." Keeping those numbers in some type of journal will keep you on track and motivated.
A - stands for Attainable
Be realistic. You do not want to set up yourself for failure, but you also want to push yourself. Losing 50 lbs by July 1st would be an unrealistic goal for most people. So before you commit to a specific goal, really think what would be realistic given your current life factors.
R - stands for Relevant
Every step and piece of this goal should directly relate to the specified goal in step one. Begin to breakdown your goal to fit into parts of your life. For example; make a meal schedule and tack it to a cork board. Add receipts, pictures, and even your measurement journal up there. Add physical activity to your families fridge calender like; under Soccer practice 7-8:15p, write walk the H.S. track, make yourself get out there for a hour instead of sitting on the bleachers.
T - stands for Timely
This is the step on that piece of paper where you really break it down. You have already set the date to reach your goal, now it is time to set smaller goals or bench marks to get there. I usually like to go backwards from my finish line, but you have to do what works for you. Break it down by life event, week, day, or even hour. Your finish line is non-negotiable so make sure it is attainable and relevant.
All of these steps can and should be done in pencil or on the computer so you can edit as you go. As you get into a schedule, you will most definitely find what is working for you and what is not, but I will say this; once you have written the final draft of your end goal - don't change it. Broadcast it on every social networking site you can, call your friends and family and let them know what is going on, write it loud and proud on your dry erase board at work, because the more people you have in your corner supporting you, and the more people you hold yourself accountable to, the easier and more rewarding reaching that goal will be.
Here is a draft example of what our hypothetical weight SMART goal would begin to look like:
Now get to making your SMART goal today! ;-)