7 Steps to Setting S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goals
Hello, Coach Mindy here!
To lead a fulfilling life, setting goals is not just beneficial—it’s crucial. Goals act as guiding lights, propelling us toward our dreams and aspirations. They serve as catalysts, transforming our path to success into a tangible and actionable journey. Putting our goals into writing gives them substance, making them visually connect with our desires and providing measurable milestones to track progress.
Goals play a vital role, not merely in having them but in understanding their significance. Pursuing things for the sake of appearance hinders our ability to achieve true success. Mere desires for what seems ‘cool’ or impresses others won’t lead to lasting accomplishments. If aspirations lack deeper meaning, we’re prone to giving up when challenges arise.
Setting goals is not just essential; it’s a fundamental aspect of personal growth and success. Failure to set goals correctly traps us in uncertainty, frustration, and unfulfillment. What’s even more detrimental is the habit of setting goals only once a year, typically on New Year’s Eve.
This New Year’s Syndrome leads to annual goal-setting, often followed by forgetfulness. Shockingly, a 2014 study by the University of Scranton revealed that only 8% of individuals achieve their New Year’s goals. A mere 64% stick with their goals for over a month, 46% for more than six months, and only 8% persevere for long-term success.
If you’re tired of constantly falling short of your goals due to improper setting or the once-a-year approach, a key ingredient is missing from your recipe for success. Without the necessary elements and an active approach, committing to your desires and consistently taking required actions becomes challenging.
So, what’s the secret ingredient?
Enter S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goals.
This ingenious mnemonic acronym isn’t just a tool; it’s a powerhouse for simplifying goal achievement. George T. Doran introduced it in a November 1981 publication in Management Review, revolutionizing the concept of S.M.A.R.T. goal setting for business management objectives. S.M.A.R.T. goals—specific, meaningful, achievable, relevant, and time-bound—add a playful twist to the acronym, as you can tell.
Yet, S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goal setting takes it up a notch, urging you to assess and adapt your strategy. This extra focus on measurement and adjustment is pivotal for success in any endeavor. Unfortunately, many of us set goals without a clear means of measuring progress. Without tracking our efforts, it becomes too easy for our minds to deceive us into procrastination or falsely believe we’ve made more progress than we actually have.
7 Steps to Setting S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goals
#1. Be Specific
Kickstarting your S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals demands a laser-focused approach. The more specific you get, the better your chances of success, no matter your chosen path. It’s not about vaguely wanting more money or shedding some pounds; it’s about pinpointing the exact amount you aim to earn or the precise weight you want to shed. Quantify your goals to make them not just aspirations but tangible, measurable targets.
#2. Be Meaningful
Transforming your goals into S.M.A.R.T.E.R. ones involves the second step of infusing deep meaning into them. Your goals should resonate with a powerful “why” that propels you beyond limits. When your goals hold profound significance in your life, you’re driven to go the extra mile. This isn’t about superficial desires; it’s rooted in a genuine hunger for personal growth and transformative achievements.
#3. Make It Achievable
The third step in S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goal setting is making sure your goals are within reach. While some claim you can achieve anything anytime, for short-term goals (within a year), it’s crucial to keep them realistic. Aim high for the long term, but for the near future, opt for goals you can genuinely accomplish.
#4. Keep It Relevant
To nail S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals, they must align with your life. Ensure your goals resonate with your desires and harmonize with what truly matters. They should echo your core values. If your goals clash with these values, frustration lurks, and giving up becomes a real risk.
#5. Time-Bound Focus
Ensure your goals have a timeline by setting specific dates for achievement. Concentrate on goals attainable within 3-month intervals. For instance, if you aim to lose 50 pounds in a year, break it down into 3-month segments, equating to around 12.5 pounds every three months. By giving your goals a timeframe, you make them measurable. Regularly measure your progress – daily, weekly, and monthly – to hold yourself accountable.
#6. Regular Evaluation
Boost your chances of success by consistently evaluating your goals. Daily assessments keep you focused and motivated, especially crucial for long-term or months-away goals that might slip through the cracks without regular check-ins.
#7. Ready to Readjust
After employing the S.M.A.R.T.E.R. method for your goals, the final step is adapting and refining your approach. If obstacles repeatedly block your path, it’s time to reassess. Like a plane from LAX to MIA adjusting its course for a smooth journey, continuously evaluate and tweak your strategies until you reach your goals.
Rest assured, readjusting doesn’t mean scrapping your goals and starting anew. It means exploring new strategies until you find yourself inching closer to your aspirations. Daily evaluation is key – without it, measuring your growth becomes a challenge. In chasing your S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals, regularly checking in and tweaking your approach is like a roadmap—it keeps you on track, making sure your journey is both meaningful and successful.