Make Your Dreams A Reality With Smart Goals
Aug 06, 2022
Photo by DS stories)
What does SMART mean?
S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. It really helps to maintain perspective when you break a larger goal into smaller steps. Hitting milestones will help to keep your motivation up and make it easier to keep going.
Breaking it down
Let's use the common example of "I want to get healthy" for our goal and see how we can make it SMART.
Getting specific is how you figure out everything you will need to reach your target. This is the planning phase. Decide exactly what your long term goal is. If you want to improve your health, what aspects of your health? How will you measure those improvements?
The more specific you can get when setting your goal, the easier it will be to break down into smaller steps. List out every step that you will need to take from the beginning to completion. Think of it like drawing a pathway that you can follow. It lets you track your progress and informs you of the next steps that you need to take. If you're not sure of all the steps, list as much as you can.
This is how you can judge how your actions are moving you towards your health goals. How will you measure that you're moving towards your goal of "healthy"? That could be a doctor monitoring your blood pressure or cholesterol levels. It could be weighing yourself every other week, or measuring the distance you run each day.
Keeping a record of the measurements that you take is valuable. It lets you adjust your approach if needed.
Some of the most important questions about your goal: is it achievable? Is it realistic? Is what you want to do possible?
Let's look at weight loss, for example. If you had a goal to lose 20lbs in 2 weeks, that's not safe or likely. Aggressive weight loss, even when done in a safe way, can still only realistically yield results of 1-2 lbs. in a week. Any more than that is unhealthy and even dangerous.
Setting realistic goals is key to staying committed and positive about reaching them. If your ultimate goal is not achievable in the short-term then set smaller, reachable goals. These steps will add up to what you want long-term.
Stay focused on achieving these smaller goals and celebrating your victories. It can keep the long-term goal from feeling too overwhelming.
The goals that you set for yourself should get you closer to where or who you would like to be in the future. Do you want to feel better physically? Do you want to look more healthy to feel more confident? Then the goals that you pursue should help you to move in that direction.
What do you want your future to look like?
Like we said above, don't set yourself up for failure with a "20lbs in 2 weeks" type goal. When you make change slowly over time, it's much more likely to stick. That's because it becomes a good habit, rather than a chore that you eventually get to stop doing.
Set reasonable time limits on when you will reach your long- or short-term goals. Leave yourself a little wiggle room. You don't want to set an overly ambitious goal and put yourself in a position to feel like you have failed. A goal should be hard enough to challenge you and make a positive difference. You want to be able to see and appreciate what you have worked towards.
Push yourself, but not too hard
Write your goals down; review and revise them often. Remember to be flexible and to expect gradual changes. Set yourself up for victories with smaller, achievable steps on the way to your long term goal. Expect some failures or setbacks along the way and push through them.
Changing your lifestyle is an enormous undertaking. It is going to be difficult. But with determination, and the right tools, you can create and maintain good habits. Your SMART goal will be the map that leads you to your best life.
Let us help you break your goals into smaller steps with our free downloadable SMART Goals worksheet.