SMART is one of the fundamental planning methods used for setting goals. We wrote about setting goals in one of our previous posts. By using the SMART method you will make sure that you know what to do, what steps to take to achieve this goal and how long it will take to accomplish this.
Let’s get back to the SMART method. It’s an acronym of the words Specific, Measurable, Attainable/Ambitious, Recorded/Realistic and Timely defined.
Try to define your goals simply and clearly so that there is no room for interpretation. The more precisely you describe your goal, the easier it will be to achieve it.
Measurability of the goals is essential. Take a moment and think about how you can determine the progress in the completion of this goal. If you can’t measure the progress, how will you be able to tell if it was achieved?
- “I will train more often”
This goal is too general. How much is more often? For one person it will be once a week, for someone else – every day.
- “I will train 3 times a week for an hour”
This is a good goal definition. You have determined both the frequency and length of the training. It’s easy to measure if the goal has been achieved.
Goals should be set to be both achievable and challenging. You will easily get bored with less ambitious goals. That’s because our brain is designed to expect challenges. On the other hand, if you set an unrealistic goal, you will be quickly discouraged by little progress.
Example: “I will lose 50 kg in a month“, “I will run a marathon”
Losing 50 kg in a month is not only difficult but also very harmful to your health. Unless you have been training hard, running a marathon will be a very tough goal to achieve.
- I will lose 5 kg per month
- I will start running daily
The goal must be realistic, feasible and adapted to the amount of time, money and other resources that you have to use to achieve it. Also it has to be recorded – (as always) scientists calculated that by only writing down a goal, probability of achieving it increases by around 30%.
- “I will learn three foreign languages this year”
It is unlikely that one year is enough to learn 3 languages.
Better defined goal:
- “I will sign up for a French language course.”
Learning a foreign language in a year is a challenge, but a realistic one and you are able to do so.
Each goal must be time-bound. You need to determine a deadline for a particular goal. This will allow you to take control over your goals so that you don’t put them off for tomorrow.
- “I will go for a holiday to Croatia”
This definition is too general.
- “I will go for a holiday to Croatia next year.”
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t manage to achieve your goals before the due date. You can ask yourself the question : Where did I go wrong ? and then try to fix it.
A few tips:
- Write down
It’s not enough just to set a goal, you have to write it down to increase the chance to achieve it. When a goal is written down it begins to ‘exist’. You can see it on paper or computer screen so you are less likely to forget it.
- Have a positive goal
The goal should be defined positively. Our brain works in a way that you should determine what you want to achieve and not what you no longer want. Our mind has a tendency to emphasize phrases that we find difficult. The following will work better: “I want to be slim” instead of “I do not want to be fat“.
Determine what is most important to you. This way you will know in which order to tackle individual goals.
Your personal goals All the goals that you try to achieve should be independent on other people. You have no influence on other people’s action, the weather and many other factors. You can control only your own actions.