Setting positive goals can be challenging, because if you are going to spend the time setting goals, you also want them to achievable goals – and the SMART goals framework offers a way to increase your chances of success.
The acronym, SMART, stands for the elements that are combined to make this type of goal setting effective.
Using the SMART goal setting strategy, as described by Indeed, helps you avoid the risk of setting vague goals that are likely to fail.
What Exactly Are SMART Goals?
SMART objectives follow a simple framework, or process, of development. The word behind each letter of the acronym, SMART, gives a hint about what to do and what to consider when setting new goals.
When you make goals specific, it gives you a target to aim for when planning ways to achieve your goals. For example, if you want to lose weight, you wouldn’t make the goal ‘to lose weight’ – you would make the goal for a specific number of pounds to lose or a specific number of inches to trim off your waist.
This is because it’s easy to say you want to do something, but that’s too general. Saying you want to achieve a specific thing, such as losing twenty pounds or fifty pounds, gives you a firm goal.
Making a goal measurable means defining how you will know you have achieved your goal. Using the weight loss example again, if your goal is too broad, such as just to lose weight but no specific amount, you not only have no way of knowing when you’ve achieved it, you also have no way to measure it.
However, if you set a goal of losing ten pounds, and check your starting weight, then when the scale reads ten pounds lighter, you’ll know you have achieved your specific, and measurable, goal.
Setting attainable goals means you are more likely to succeed if you choose a goal that’s do-able. For example, you may want to lose a hundred pounds, and of course that’s do-able – under certain circumstances and time frames.
A more achievable goal, using the weight loss example, would be calculated using the amount of weight a doctor says you can safely lose per week, and dividing a hundred by that number. Then, you would check the calendar to see the soonest date you could safely expect to lose that amount of weight.
Setting relevant, clear goals means choosing goals that align with your beliefs and desired lifestyle. This means knowing yourself well enough to set goals that mean something to you and that you’re willing to work to achieve.
For example, if you’re considering something that takes years to achieve, such as earning a college degree, then you would set each smaller goal, or mini goal, based on what you need to do to get your college degree. Passing each course that’s required to get your degree would be one of your achievable, relevant mini goals.
Putting time limits, or deadlines, on your goals is about motivating yourself and about helping you stay on track to succeed in achieving your goals. Make the time-based goals ambitious, to keep yourself energized and under a bit of pressure. This is where setting long-term goals that are broken up into short-term goals really comes into play.
Using the weight loss example again, if you want to lose a hundred pounds, that would be a long-term goal because you couldn’t do it safely in a short time period. But you could make it a goal to lose that in a year and then break the goal into increments of ten pounds a month or every two months, and each short term goal would also have a deadline.
4 Easy SMART Goal Setting Tips
- Be kind to yourself: One of my favorite goal setting tips is to be kind to yourself.
- Set goals that change your life: Realize that the goals you’re setting, if you set high enough goals, can change your life, or at the very least be part of rewriting your life story.
- Set both long-term and short-term goals: Don’t be afraid to set big goals, just be sure to break the big ones into achievable smaller goals.
- Build success into your life story: Each smaller goal you achieve builds success into your story, and each success increases the likelihood of succeeding in your biggest goals.
What Is My Goal in Life?
When you’re setting life goals, keep in mind that it’s really rare for anyone to have a single goal in life. Because human beings are complex and multi-faceted, it’s typical to have goals that speak to different parts of life. Some common types of goals that make up a person’s life goals are personal goals and professional goals.
- Personal goals: Personal goals are the goals that
- Professional goals: Professional goals are the goals that
Using the SMART process for setting goals can help you establish positive goals in life, and following it can help you succeed in achieving both long-term and short-term goals.
Examples of Short Term Goals
Short-term goals could be described as daily goals, weekly goals, or monthly goals. These mini goals are like stepping stones on a path that can lead to success in the achievement of your long-term goals.
- Daily goals: An example of a daily goal, still using the example of someone who wants to lose weight, could be staying under a calorie limit, drinking the required amount of water, or a specific amount of time spent exercising.
- Weekly goals: Applying the weight loss approach to weekly goals, an example could be lifting weights three times a week and doing yoga stretches or aerobic activity twice in a week’s time.
- Monthly goals: An example that applies weight loss to the setting of monthly goals could be the specific amount of weight you can reasonably and safely lose in a month.
Note that these are all goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based for a person whose goal is to lose weight. The process applies, however, to setting goals for anything in life, not just weight loss.
Examples of Long-Term Goals
Long-term goals are those that take a year to several years to achieve. Think of these long-term goals as being closer to a goal of life than your short-term goals are. But – set your long-term goals using the same framework. Be specific about what you want, and establish a framework that’s realistic and time-based for achieving it.
- One-year goals: One-year gals are long-term goals you can realistically achieve in a year. Using the weight loss example, losing a hundred pounds would be a one-year goal if you set up smaller goals of losing two pounds per week.
- Five-year goals: Five year goals are those that realistically take about five years to achieve. Using the college and professional life example, You could set a goal of earning a Bachelor’s degree and being one year into your professional career as a five-year goal.
- Ten-year goals: It’s okay to think big when setting your ten-year goals. Just really think about what you want and where you want to be at the end of ten years, and kind of work your way backward, thinking about the steps you need to take to get thee. Set plenty of achievable short-term goals and make sure to stay focused on achieving each short-term goal.
Setting goals for success is the first thing you need to do to if you want to reach a goal that’s big and significant. Have confidence in yourself, and be willing to focus and work to get where you want to be. If you can dream it, you can achieve it!
By: Laure Justice
Thanks for visiting Intrinsic Vicissitude! Browse around the site to check out some of the other information on setting goals and rewriting your life story.– Laure