Goal-setting is a life skill most of us have come across during our school careers, at work, or simply in our daily lives. It is a skill that helps us to strive for achievements, to progress in our personal and professional lives, and to gain greater life satisfaction. The SMART goal setting system is an easy and effective way to make progress, and you can start today!
SMART stands for goals that are Specific, Meaningful, Action-Oriented, and Timely. By following each of these guidelines for setting goals, you can greatly increase your likelihood of success.
Your goals should be highly specific, and categorized into different areas of your life. For example, you could have education goals, work goals, health goals, and relationship goals. Choose a few goals for each category, and make them as specific as possible. An example of a specific health goal would be “Eat breakfast every day before leaving for work”. Non-specific goals, such as “lose weight”, are much harder to achieve as they aren’t defined properly. So, make your goals highly specific and very well thought-out.
Why do you want to achieve your goals? Maybe you want to spend more quality time with your husband, so that you can improve your relationship and avoid a possible divorce. Or, you may want to get fit and healthy so that you can participate in a charity marathon. Linking your desires (goals) to your emotions can greatly enhance your chances of achievement.
What concrete steps can you take towards achieving your goal? Having a goal is all well and good, but unless you know how you can work towards it, it remains merely a fantasy. Come up with practical steps towards success, and make sure that you are able to follow through on them. Many small steps are better than fewer huge ones, as you can track your progress and forge ahead at a steady pace.
We are often told to “dream big”, but working on a small succession of realistic goals is the solid foundation for reaching the stars. So, for example, instead of trying to drop a massive amount of weight in a month, rather set a realistic goal weight for the end of each week, and adjust your final goal according to your progress. Keep dreaming, but make sure that you also keep acting by achieving realistic goals as you make your way towards your dream.
Set realistic, time constrained goals to keep your progress on track. Choose a reasonable time-frame, and reward yourself if you meet your goals on time.
If you follow these guidelines, you will have a much better chance of achieving your goals. Just remember to keep them specific, to attach meaning to them, to act on them every day, keep them realistic, and work within a time limit. Good luck!