When it comes to setting goals, most of us fail because we are thinking long-term. Setting realistic goals is the key to achieving them. It doesn’t matter whether you’re starting out on a new journey or trying to accomplish a higher plateau than where you are.
The key to success is getting SMART. If you haven’t heard to term before, SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. By following these themes, you will find that the goals you set for yourself will be much more effective and successful.
Specific: It is easy to set goals that are vague or unrealistic. How many times have you set the goal of “trying harder,” really? These types of goals are unattainable because they give you no specific plan to reach your target goal. Try being more specific about what it is you want to do to get there. For example, if your goal is to hit the gym more often, set yourself a target to an exact amount of days. If your goal is to eat less candy, craft a weekly meal plan to stay on track.
Measurable: Now that you have a specific goal, take it one step further and give yourself a measurable target. By setting goals that are measurable and breaking it down on a daily basis, the task becomes immediate or short-term, not something that will only be reviewed in 12 months when it's too late. They give you not only a specific goal to reach but serve as a regular reminder to work on your goal.
Achievable: This is hard to do, but try not to set the bar too high when targeting your goals. Unrealistic goals are ambitious but can seem intimidating and unachievable. However, if you break down a big goal into realistic sub-goals, almost any objective you set will eventually be achieved. Plan each step of the goal and make sure that each sub-goal is attainable for you. Give yourself a realistic time frame to achieve each step, and you will eventually get there.
Relevant: Goals that relate to your daily life are more motivating to work on. If you want to lose weight and someone says you should join a boot camp or running club but you despise running, choose something else that will help you to reach your specific goal. If it is not something you are interested in, it will be harder to stay motivated. Keep in mind; you are the only one who can decide what a good goal is right for you.
Timely: This is the most important aspect of goal setting. Setting a realistic time frame is the golden rule. A realistic time frame is one which pushes you, but not so much that the goal becomes impossible to achieve. Without a specific time frame, your goal has no sense of urgency to achieve it – allowing it to fall to the bottom of your priority list.
What’s your first SMART goal? Share it with us on our Facebook and Twitter!