Goal setting is an activity often overlooked, particularly around the New Year. Sure, folks make resolutions, but there is a very good reason why gym memberships skyrocket in January and tail off during the spring – New Year resolutions do not work! If there is something you really want to accomplish during the coming year, use SMART goal setting techniques instead.
SMART Goal Setting Objectives
Goal setting starts with making goals that are SMART as in –
Specific refers to a goal that actually has substance and not something general. Specific goals answer the questions who, what, where, when, how, and why. For instance, if you set a goal to lose weight, it is not specific. If your goal states that you are going to lose twenty pounds in three months, that is specific.
Measurable means that your goal is quantifiable. Again, a goal to lose weight is not measurable. Setting a goal to lose twenty pounds is measurable because you can use the scale to instantly determine whether you are on your way to meeting that goal.
A goal is attainable when you can reach that goal within the boundaries of your skills and resources. If you have a goal to play professional football but you are barely strong enough to carry a suitcase, you might wish to reconsider that goal.
Realistic SMART goal setting means that the goal is not some kind of pipe dream. For instance, if your goal is to earn one billion dollars by tomorrow and you only have three dollars in your bank account, you might be disappointed with your results. That is not to say that you will never reach the billion-dollar mark, but it might take you twenty-four years to achieve, and not twenty-four hours.
Time-bound refers to goals that have to include an end date. If your goal has no end date, then it is not a goal – it is an activity. A goal to make one million dollars is not a good goal because you can probably make one million total dollars in your working lifetime. A better goal is to make one million dollars in ten years.
Examples of SMART Goal Setting
For somebody who currently bench-presses one hundred pounds, a SMART goal might be something like: “I will bench press two hundred pounds by 31 July, 2015.”
SMART goal setting for another person who wants to lose weight might be – “I want to lose a stone by October 20th 2010 and to do it, I will take a brisk half hour walk each day and only eat healthy meals while cutting out oils and fat from my diet”