Whether you are still going strong on your New Year resolutions or they have fallen through, it's never too late to set goals for the weeks and months ahead. Often, the reason people fail to achieve their goals is that they set them without making a plan of action—thus making the goals easy to abandon or fall through. One solution to that issue is to consider setting SMART goals—an acronym to assist you in setting Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time bound goals.
SMART goal setting helps guide you through the process of setting a goal you can stick to, and even breaking it into smaller tasks so that it doesn't feel so out of reach.
Here is a breakdown of the each of the five SMART components, and the roles they play in making sure you're setting realistic, achievable goals for yourself.
1. Be SPECIFIC
Visualize what your end goal looks like. Be somewhat specific. The more specific this goal is, the more detailed clues it will lend you as you map your way there. Start with the end in mind and evaluate from that what you need to do to achieve that ending. This will help you in giving directions for you to take, to break up what you need to do into more manageable increments, and then reach your goal.
2. Make it MEASURABLE
Set different check points for you to accomplish. Either break the goal down into sections where you reach it piece by piece, and/or set specific deadlines to have things accomplished by. Set goals using amounts, time frames, or other quantifiable ways of measuring progress. Without something to quantify your progress you won't have a way to judge if you are moving in the direction you want to be or slacking. Especially when you have something to quantify and mark your success, it is going to feel good and then motivate you to continue.
3. Make sure it is ATTAINABLE
Be realistic and be honest with yourself. Don't set goals that are ridiculously out of reach where you'll end up feeling let down. Make your goal a little stretch, but still reachable. It's okay for a goal to be challenging, but make sure that when you plan out how you'll achieve it that when you break your goal down it is something you are capable of reaching.
4. Tie it in so it is RELEVANT
When setting your goal, brainstorm ways that you can tie in motivators into your everyday life. Set regular reminders for yourself, and put visual reminders in places you will see them often. Write yourself a note or put up a picture of what you want. If there is a financial component to your goal, set key words to remind you of your goal as your work computer password. It's a nice way to remind yourself why you do what you do every day—and it might help your work productivity!
5. Make sure your goal is TIME BOUND
Set a deadline and stick to it. This will help put pressure on you to take steps to accomplish your goal instead of putting it off. If you have broken up your goal into chunks, set multiple deadlines for each chunk with a final ultimate deadline.
Finally, while it isn't part of the official acronym, I think it's important to enforce something into your goal setting plan for ACCOUNTABILITY. Ask someone to hold you accountable to your goal and to check on your progress here and there. Set reminders with small rewards in your calendar—if you have done what was needed, reward yourself.
When planning your goals follow these steps to help give you footing and develop a plan for your success and hold yourself accountable. Whether you're sticking to your resolutions, have already failed at them, or didn't make any to start with, these steps will help you to get and stay on track—so make sure to use them. Here's to your success in the rest of 2018!
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