How many times have you set a goal and within a short period of time forgotten about it? Or worse yet, get frustrated over lack of success and give up? New Year’s resolutions, diets, and contests with ourselves are sometimes the least the effective way to meet a particular goal. We set goals that may seem do-able at the beginning when we are motivated in some way, but then real life sets in and the challenge to meet those lofty goals becomes too much.
I have learned a great way to set goals for myself. It makes them manageable and it holds me accountable for each small step so that I’m not flailing about with no direction. S.M.A.R.T is the acronym for this goal setting technique and it works for anything you might want to achieve.
Here’s how to make sure your goal is S.M.A.R.T
S- Is it Specific? Don’t just say “I will eat healthier from now on” instead try “I will eat one less serving of meat a week” that way you have a specific project in mind.
M- Is it Measurable? We won’t know if we’ve met our goal unless we have a way to measure it. “I will eat 1 less serving of meat this week” is measurable. We know at the end of 1 week if we’ve accomplished it or not. Same goes for weight loss, weight gain, work-out progress, or saving $$.
A- Is it Attainable? Can you do this particular thing in the amount of time you’ve given yourself? Do you really WANT it? This is an important question to ask yourself. Make sure the goals you set are things that can actually be attained by you and more importantly, that you desire them. I mean, do I REALLY want to live on an island, eat fresh pineapple, and do yoga all day on the beach? Yes!
R- Is it Realistic or Relevant? Be really honest with yourself when you look at this aspect. Will you ever be a size 6? Do you want to be? Maybe your body isn’t built to be “thin” so don’t make that your goal, instead make optimal health your goal. Keep things real and be fair to yourself by being honest with your capabilities.
T- Is there a Timeline? Did you set a realistic amount of time to reach your goal? Do you have short term and long term goals? Goals can change daily, weekly, and monthly. Keep track of your progress by recording your progress. Remember, this is a process.
Lastly, Keep a Goal journal and write them down often. The act of writing makes things more “real” and perhaps will spark even more motivation or ideas for other goals. It is also nice to look back at goals you’ve accomplished and allow yourself to feel proud.