Setting goals is a part of life, whether you have physical, mental, financial, or other personal aspirations. Unfortunately, giving up on those goals or getting sidetracked is also a part of life. Most people who have worked towards something know what it feels like to miss the mark.
So, what is the roadblock that gets in the way of achieving goals? Setting goals in your life is a smart thing to do, but are you making SMART goals? When you plan goals the right way, you can hone in on the right target and have a better chance to reach it. Here’s what you should know about making SMART goals.
Have you ever started out on January 1 with a long list of goals like “Lose Weight,” “Get a Promotion,” or “Get in Shape?” These are all worthwhile aspirations, but they are hard to accomplish. The problem with this list is that they are too broad. Losing weight could be anything from shedding one to 100 pounds. It’s hard to track goals and determine success if they are too vague. Instead, try “Lose 25 Pounds,” “Get the Open Manager Job,” or “Train for a 5K.”
When you are crafting your goals, you need to have a way to hold yourself accountable. How do you want to get in shape? Map out your plan, such as taking Fido for a run at Sherwood’s dog park three times a week or and going for a more serious run around Bellflower twice a week as you build up to your 5K. If your plan is to lose 25 pounds, you can make it measurable by working to lose one to two pounds a week and keep track of your success. If you are looking for a promotion, what are you doing to make it happen? Set achievements you need to hit along the way to getting the promotion, like improving performance at work, applying for the promotion, and other steps.
It’s great to aim for big changes in your life, but it can be discouraging if you try to do something that is just not possible. Losing 25 pounds in a month may not be possible or healthy, and you might lose interest if you aren’t getting where you wanted to be. Hoping for a promotion next month that is several steps above you doesn’t give you the time to grow and succeed. Make sure what you are working toward can actually be done so you stay motivated.
When setting goals, it is important to find something that is important and worthwhile to you. You will be more motivated to work toward something that makes sense to you. Find a goal that will improve your life and make you happy. Reading one book a month in the next year is a good idea, but don’t pledge to read a book about medieval Europe each month if you hate history. If your goal isn’t relevant to you, you won’t have a reason to follow through and it won’t do you any good.
The timeliness of your goals is one of the most important factors. Keep yourself on track by having a time element. Give yourself an end date for your goal and track your progress along the way to help you cross the finish line in time. For example, “Lose 25 Pounds in Six Months” or “Get Promoted to Manager by July” are good ways to put a target date on your goal.
Setting goals that you can achieve will put you on the right track to succeed. As you put a plan in place to make improvements in your life, use SMART goals to help you hit the mark.