Most people have a love hate relationship with “goals.” They love the idea of having them, but hate the thought because they never follow through. Goals can be rewarding, or frustrating depending on how you approach them, and how you write them. Chances are, if you strongly dislike goals or goal setting, you probably aren’t doing it right. Let’s talk about the easiest way to set a goal, and follow through with it.
Ever heard of SMART goals? It’s a bit of a cheesy acronym, but let me tell yah, it works! When you think about setting a goal you want to think through whether it is SMART or not. SMART stands for the following: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.
Starting out with a specific goal is very important. Let’s say your goal has to do with saving money. You might start out by saying “I want to save up for a house.” While this is a great goal to have, there are some weaknesses to it. The first is that it isn’t specific enough. How much do you want to save for a house? What kind of house do you want to save for? Including this information in your goal will help you to have a more clear picture of what you are doing. Let’s make it more specific by saying “I want to save $20,000 for a downpayment on a house.” Now we’re getting somewhere.
The next part of the goal to focus on is to make it measurable. In other words, can you tell you are making progress towards, and have reached your goal? Right now as our goal stands, we have no way to measure it: “I want to save $20,000 for a downpayment on a house.” Cool, but how do we know we can actually do that? Let’s add in something about saving a certain amount of money each month or each paycheck. Maybe you can afford to not go out to eat as much, or shop as much. Let’s say you want to save $1,000 a month. Your new goal becomes: “I want to save $20,000 for a downpayment on a house by saving $1,000 a month.” Getting closer!
This means that it’s something we can actually do. Maybe saving $1,000 a month is realistic, and maybe there is no way you can save that much and still afford to pay all the bills. You need to consider what is best for you, and something you can achieve. If that number needs to be adjusted, do it! Don’t make a goal that you can’t actually meet.
You also want to think through if this goal is relevant to your life and current situation. Is now the right time to be saving for a house, or should you be saving to pay off loans instead. Or maybe you’re in high school and saving for a house makes zero sense. Think through the goal you are writing and make sure it makes sense to your current situation.
Lastly, make sure your goal has a timeline in it. If we only saved $1,000 for two months, we would be nowhere near our goal of saving $20,000. When do you want to buy a house by? How long do you think it will take? Add in a time line. You new goal could be something like: “I want to save $20,000 for a downpayment on a house by saving $1,000 a month for two years.” Boom! We now have a SMART goal.
Some other examples of SMART goals could be:
- I will get more fit by going to the gym 3x a week and following the workout plan designed by my trainer for the next two months.
- I will drink more water by bringing two full 30 oz water bottles with me to work and finishing the first by lunch and the second by the time I leave the building.
- I will spend more time with my family by leaving work at work, plugging my phone in when I get home from work and leaving it there until the kids go to bed, and planning a family dinner twice a week for the next three months.
- I will read more by turning the TV off at 7 each night and spending an hour reading instead.
- I will go to bed earlier by turning the TV off at 8 each night, plugging my phone in in a different room (besides the bedroom), getting in bed by 8:30 and spending 30 minutes reading or journaling.
What goal do you have that you need assistance writing a SMART goal for? Let me know below and let’s see what we can come up with!
Peace, Love, and SMART Goals,