SMART Goals

I’ve done a post back in June 2021 about Setting Goals, and I talked about some of the aspects of today’s post, but I want to address the idea of SMART goals. SMART Goals are so prevalent in the education world, but they need to be mainstream to everyone else too. They help you to stay on track and actually have a more productive goal and actually take steps to be moving towards them.

If you didn’t figure it out, SMART is an acronym, where each letter stands for something else. I want to spend today to give you a definition and some guiding questions you can use, as well as an example before and after what using these looks like.

S- Specific

The S stands for Specific. You want to make your goal as specific as possible. If your goal is to lose weight, you may want to put in exactly how much you want to lose or the weight you want to be at. Whatever you want to accomplish and do, try to be as concise as possible. Questions to ask yourself:

  • What EXACTLY do you want to accomplish?
  • What does accomplishing this goal look like?

Example before the SMART template: I want to lose weight.
Example after the SMART template: I want to lose x pounds or weigh x pounds (however much you need)

M- Measurable

M is for measurable. It’s the way to show that you actually have a way to reach the goal you set for yourself. It’s so nice to have goals obviously, but you also need to have a way to actively reach that goal. You need to have a “finish line” for your goal. Questions to ask yourself:

  • How will I know I have accomplished this goal?
  • How will I check in with myself to make sure I’m on track?

Example before the SMART template: I want to lose weight.
Example after the SMART template: I will weigh myself weekly, biweekly, or monthly

A- Attainable

Attainable, or the A, is another term for achievable. The goal should be something you can actually accomplish. It should be realistic to you and what you’re trying to do. If you hate the idea of running, then you shouldn’t set the goal for yourself to run a marathon. It should be something that you both want to do and are capable of doing. Questions to ask yourself:

  • Why do you want to do this goal?
  • Why is this goal important for you?

Example before the SMART template: I want to lose weight.
Example after the SMART template: I want to be healthier and feel better about myself

R- Relevant

The R means Relevant. You should already be doing things to help you on the goals you want to accomplish. You may only need to do a few extra steps. You shouldn’t have to fully change your life. Maybe just make a small change or two. Here are some questions to ask yourself when thinking of relevancy:

  • What steps do you need to take to accomplish this goal?
  • How does this goal fit in to what you’re already trying to do?

Example before the SMART template: I want to lose weight.
Example after the SMART template: I want to increase my weekly exercise from 1-2 times a week to 3-4 times a week

T- Time-Based

T is your deadline. It is the base of time that you set for yourself. It puts a definite end date on the goal. This way your goal doesn’t drag on forever. It’s easy to say and do something, but the motivation can wear out quickly. If you create a deadline for yourself, then you feel more on track and keep yourself working toward your goal. Time-based questions:

  • When will you want this goal to be reached?
  • How long do you think it will take to accomplish this goal?

Example before the SMART template: I want to lose weight.
Example after the SMART template: I want to lose x pounds or weigh x pounds by the end of the year.

There’s the format of using a SMART goal. So here’s the final example as you put everything together:

Example before the SMART template: I want to lose weight.
Example after the SMART template: By the end of 2023, I will lose x weight or weigh x pounds to feel better about myself and feel healthier, and I will measure this out by weighing myself on a weekly basis.

Do you see how much better that sounds? You’ve given yourself a specific end point, time you want to get this done, way to measure your success, and reason for the goal to being involved in your life. And while the example I used was losing weight, you can customize the goal to anything you want to accomplish. When I set the goals for myself this year, I had these questions next to me. I started with the vague goals of what I wanted to do. Then as I answered the questions for myself, I wrote down the notes. So when it came time to rewrite the goals. The example I gave is one of my actual goals for this year. I started with the fact that I wanted to lose weight, and I broke it down from there. It’s good to lose weight, but knowing exactly how much is better. Then I could set a measurable component (weighing myself). I’m not going crazy with the amount I want to lose. I’m being realistic. I’m not looking to lose half my weight or something super crazy (no shame to the people who want to do those kinds of things). I don’t ever expect to be fully skinny and have absolutely no fat on me. I just want to lose a little bit of the stuff I have. I am taking steps to get there and do things to work on that goal. So then that makes it both Attainable and Relevant. A couple of changes here and there to what I’m doing is all I feel I need. And by giving myself the timeline of the end of the year means I have a time period that this is either going to be accomplished by or not. It sets me up for success and helps me to be better. And I hope that it can do the same for you.

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