Many people want to get ahead to live and improve the quality of their life. Whereas some have clear career goals and focus on that, others want to improve their health, relationships, or other areas in their lives. Whichever way you focus on improving the quality of your life, you will need to set clear goals.
However, many people never actually reach their goals. With all the best intentions, some goals are simply not well defined, not clearly structured, and are set to fail from the beginning when they were set. Think about how many people have the intention to quit smoking after New Year’s Eve, but never manage it? Or how many people are dedicated to losing weight, but actually never manage to reach their goals?
By setting goals the S.M.A.R.T. way, your chances of success might be increased. S.M.A.R.T. stands for
By defining each S.M.A.R.T. parameter, goals have the potential to become much more into reach. Let’s have a look.
Goals need to be specific, as specific as possible. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, stating “I want to lose weight” is by far not specific enough. Losing weight might be the caption of your goal, but you should think about creating a kind of road map, which will allow you to keep different elements in scope, which will help you to reach your goal.
Therefore, ask yourself the following questions:
- What exactly do I want to accomplish?
- What is the reason for wanting to achieve the goal? What will I gain, what is the benefit?
- Who is involved? Do I need other’s people to help in achieving my goal?
- Where will it take place? What location?
- How far am I willing to go, where are the boundaries?
Goals need to be measurable. Only then will you actually be able to identify whether you are on track or not, and whether or not you have finally achieved your goal. For example, sticking with our example of wanting to lose weight, think about what the measurement unit is. Is it really the only weight you want to lose? How about reducing your girth. Improving your BMI. Reducing the amount of fat? Think about what you want to measure; perhaps it is a combination of different things.
Think about it, if you weigh 90 kilograms and you want to reduce weight by means of a low-fat diet and doing sports, chances are you will have difficulties losing weight, as the reduction in fat is compensated by an increase in muscle mass. Often, people set a goal that only includes one element of what they really want to achieve. Most people wanting to ‘lose weight’ simply want to be slimmer and increase their health. Therefore, you really have brainstormed with yourself to identify what exactly you want to achieve, and the different measurements involved.
Next, you will need to define when you have reached your goal. Write down the amount you want to accomplish. This will allow you to see if you are on track, and it will tell you when you have finally reached your goal.
The goal you set for yourself needs to be attractive. Reducing fat and improving your BMI have major health benefits, and so are the actions you need to take in order to achieve it (healthy diet, exercise). If your goal is to quit smoking, it will also have major benefits to your health.
These benefits should be written down, as at some points you might become demotivated. In such an event, you can remind yourself of all the benefits of reaching your goal, and how it will improve the quality of your life.
Goals need to be realistic. Many people set unrealistic goals, such as losing 100 kilograms in a month or becoming a millionaire within the next six months. You might need to read into the topic, in order to find out what might be considered to be realistic and what not.
Setting unrealistic goals can demotivate you a great deal. As your deadline approaches, and you realize that you have not even reached 10% of your goal, chances are you might give up right away, and not try again. Having set a more realistic goal might increase your motivation, and you might have actually achieved that 10%.
Goals should be related to time, and have a clear deadline. In between, you might want to set milestones and endeavor to reach part of your goals. Important questions to ask yourself are:
- When will I start with it?
- By when do I want to achieve my goal?
- What can I do today?
- What can I do for 6 weeks from now?
- What can I do for 6 months from now?
Setting goals, and actually reaching them is not an easy task. Therefore it is important to discover different elements or your goal, and how to get there, break them up into pieces, and define each step of the path you want to take. S.M.A.R.T. has helped many people reach their goals, and it can help you as well. The most important thing, however, is to try and stay motivated and to focus on all the benefits after you have reached your goal.