Setting goals which are realistic, clear and attainable is a difficult task. Therefore, it is important each goal follows the “SMART” approach. Specifically, a goal should be:
Ensure your goal is as detailed and concise as possible. When doing so, asking yourself the following questions will help you along the way:
- What do I want to achieve?
- When do I want to achieve this by?
- Where will I achieve this goal?
- Who may help?
- Why do I want to achieve this goal?
If you are not able to measure your progress, how are you supposed to know when you have accomplished your goal? It is important to track your progress to help maintain your motivation and know when a new goal needs to be set. For example, a goal of “I want to lose 25 pounds” is easily measured compared to “I want to lose weight.”
Ensuring your goal is realistic and possible is vital. You do not want to set a goal that you do not believe you can accomplish, otherwise it will be difficult to stay focused. For example, a goal of “I want to lose 25 pounds in a week” is not as attainable as “I want to lose 2 pounds a week for the next 3 months.”
Does this goal really matter to you? This is the question you need to ask yourself. If the goal is not pertinent and applicable to you, then you may not accomplish anything. However, a goal which is meaningful and aligns with your overall plan will be much more beneficial in the long run and increase motivation.
It is important to have an intended date with which the goal will be accomplished. The result of having a certain time limit will improve your focus and help you stay on course to be successful. Also, by having a time frame enables you to measure your progress to coincide with your intended deadline. For example, a goal of “I want to lose 25 pounds this year” is very vague compared to “I want to lose 25 pounds by December 31st, 2020.”
Look at the example below of a how to set a “SMART” goal:
S – I want to be able to run a 5k.
M – I want to be able to run a 5k in 25 minutes.
A – I want to be able to run a 5k in 25 minutes. I will achieve this by running 1 mile twice a week in 7 minutes.
R – I want to be able to run a 5k in 25 minutes, so I can successfully complete the Athens Moonlight 5k Run.
T – I plan to be able to successfully run a 5k in 25 minutes by July 15th, 2020.