5 Ways To Set Effective, Timely, and Specific Goals
Updated: Nov 18, 2019
Some people list their goals on an annual basis via New Year's Resolutions, others set smaller goals for their weeks or months, and some people do it all depending on the type of goal! Whether you created a board with your visions, made a list, or simply decided to focus on a specific goal - you should feel very proud of yourself for deciding on something to look forward to this year.
In the past I have had a bad habit of listing my goals at the beginning of the year only to completely bail on them in a few weeks or months. Suddenly, New Year's Eve comes around and I end up feeling pretty disappointed in myself for "not accomplishing" my New Year's Resolution. This is why this year I chose to start applying the "SMART" method to the goals I had already created for myself in order to make sure they were accomplished.
Here's how SMART works:
S.M.A.R.T = Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely
1. Are your goals specific?
For many of us, goals can include things like weight loss, getting a good job, finishing school, or starting a business. These are great goals that are also very general. Your goals need CLARITY.
How much weight do you want to lose?
What kind of job do you want? Where exactly would you like to work and with what title?
Do you want to finish school or do you want to graduate with a certain GPA?
What KIND of business do you want to start? WHERE do you want to start it?
Adding specificity to your goals allows you to cater them to your life and your work. It also helps them to actually visualize them and bring them to fruition. Being specific in your goals also helps you to stay organized and break down bigger goals into smaller ones that you can work on in steps.
2. Are your goals measurable?
In order for us to determine whether we are doing enough work on our goals we need to be able to measure them. Are you keeping track of your weight loss or fitness progress via an app, notebook, or some other method? Are you writing down how many jobs you have applied to? Will you be able to keep track of where you are at the time that you make your goals and will you be able to look back on your progress?
3. Are your goals achievable?
This one may throw some folks off. We all want to believe that even the biggest goals we have are always achievable. Of course you can accomplish anything you put your mind to! However, if the work isn't being put in - how will you accomplish it? Make sure that if you write a goal down you intend to work toward making it happen. Do not be afraid to write your goals in steps, giving yourself smaller milestones to accomplish that lead up to one big accomplishment. All of us have mountains we want to climb - it is okay to make a small hike your first goal in the process.
4. Are your goals realistic?
For those of us with a brain that spits out big impossible dreams on a daily basis, this one is important to remember. Having achievable and realistic goals go hand in hand. However I like to tie my realism to my effort. I want 10,000 followers across all of my social platforms, but realistically I am not currently putting in the time and effort that this goal requires. I don't create or post content as often as I should - two things that could help me build my following.
When it comes to your goals, make sure that you realistically are doing what it takes to achieve them. Becoming physically fit doesn't happen on a couch. Getting your dream job doesn't happen without the experience needed. Do what is required to get what is desired.
5. Are your goals timely?
The last component of our S.M.A.R.T goals deals with time. This is why I choose to reevaluate my annual goals on June 1st, instead of waiting for an entire year to pass. When creating goals it is important to give yourself due dates or a duration of time in which you hope to achieve certain things. Saying "I will have 10,000 followers in one year" is a lot different than saying "I will gain at least 500 a followers a month over the next six months by doing _____________."
Once you have specified your goals, made them measurable, achievable, and realistic - it's time to decide how much time you will need to achieve them. It's also important to routinely examine your progress. How much of your work toward your goals did you accomplish this week? This month? These past six months? Having timely goals allows you to really get an idea of how much progress you're making.
Another method I used this year was visualization: making sure my goals were always displayed in front of me to remind me of what I'm working toward. You can visualize your goals using lists, calendars, notes, reminders on your phone, pictures or vision boards.
Check out my vision board tutorial HERE.
I wish you all the absolute best as you continue working toward being the best version of yourselves.