Research shows that 80% of people give up on their new year’s resolution by the second week of February.
What’s the difference between those that stick to their resolutions and those who don’t?
When we set SMART goals, we have a crystal clear purpose and a plan to ensure we carry through on our new year’s resolutions.
Here’s how we can set SMART goals to ensure we achieve what we want out of life.
But first, What Is a SMART Goal?
SMART goals are simple. They are:
So then, when most folks say their new year’s resolution is to get into better shape. Is that a SMART goal?
No. It’s a good objective, but it doesn’t fit into the SMART framework. It’s not specific, measurable, or time bound. Someone who sets this “goal” will most likely fall in with the 80% that fail by after just over a month.
If we want our goals to motivate and direct us to live a better life, then we must make them specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound.
Make Your Goals Specific
The lack of specificity is one of the biggest goal weaknesses I witness when talking with others about what they want to accomplish with their life.
So many say they want make more money, save more money, or get into better shape. These are all good aims, but they aren’t specific enough to prompt deliberate and focused action.
Clarity is power! The more specific we are, the better direction we’ll have and the more likely we are to achieve what we’re actually after.
So rather than say you want to save more money, say you’ll save $10,000 in your savings account. Make that your goal. It’s specific.
By simply setting specific goals, you’ll be well ahead of those you fail early.
Make Your Goals Measurable
It’s hard to get motivated by goals you can’t measure.
That’s why so many people fail so early with their goal to get into shape. There is no end in sight with this objective. There’s no real target because “getting into shape” isn’t anything we can measure. It’s a never ending objective to aim for.
It’s like trying to count to infinity. Good luck!
Here’s the point: You can’t stay motivated to accomplish a goal when there’s no real, measurable target you’re shooting for.
You want your goal to be measurable so you can track you progress and know when you’ve hit what you’re aiming for.
Let’s go back to our money example. You want to save more money. Great, but what does that really mean? Do you want to save more than you have now? More than you did last year? How will you know when you’ve saved enough?
You could save your whole life and not ever necessarily hit this goal. Saving money, like getting into shape can go on and on without an end.
I could go on but I imagine you get my point.
If you determine you want to save $10,000, then that’s something we can measure. You’ll get motivated by the number, be able to track your progress, and know when you’ve achieved your goal.
Make your goals measurable! It keeps you motivated and accountable.
Make Your Goal Attainable
You’ll never put forth your best effort in accomplishing a goal if you don’t in fact believe that you’ll be able to achieve it.
Make your goals attainable, but be careful.
Yes, I see many people set their sights too high, but I see just as many set their sights too low.
You don’t want your goals to be impossible, but you also don’t want them to land you below your potential.
Your goals should be hard to achieve. They should stretch you. The process of striving to accomplish big goals will make you a better person and more qualified to succeed with other important facets of life.
Attainable isn’t synonymous with easy.
Be realistic but go big!
Make Your Goals Relevant
You want your goals to have a deep purpose that motivates you, especially when things get hard and you feel like giving up.
You give your goals purpose by making them relevant to a bigger objective.
Let’s go back to our money example. You want to save $10,000.
Because your bigger goal is to become financially free and saving $10,000 is a stepping stone in that direction. The reward of complete financial freedom is well worth the various sacrifices you may encounter while saving $10,000. It gives you a bigger purpose and more motivation.
Our goals will be much more motivating when they are relevant in helping us achieve a higher call.
Here’s an important side note about relevant goals: We should all have an overall mission or a purpose for our life. Each goal we set should somehow tie back into our life mission.
For example, part of my mission statement is to do all I can to unite, teach, strengthen, protect, and provide for my family. Every goal I set and every action I take should somehow, in someway drive me closer to serving that purpose. Everything I do should be relevant in accomplishing that end.
A life driven by purpose is much more rewarding than one driven by chance.
Create a life mission and set goals that are relevant in helping you accomplishing that purpose.
Make Your Goals Time Bound
The last aspect in creating a SMART goal is to make sure that you give yourself a time limit of when you want it accomplished.
Parkinson’s Law suggests that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” In other words, if we give ourselves a deadline of one day for a project, then it will take one day to accomplish. If we give ourselves one month, then it will take a month. The work fills the time limit we give it.
So how does this relate to goals?
If we don’t give ourselves a deadline to accomplish a goal, we’ll probably never achieve it.
So then, back to our money example. “I will save $10,000 in my savings account” is still not a SMART goal. But “I will save $10,000 in my savings account by December 2018” is.
Give your goals a deadline! Doing so will help focus your efforts and ensure you achieve what you’re after.
Conclusion – How To Set SMART Goals
If we want to get as much out of our life as possible, we must become intentional with how we live it. Jim Rohn always used to ask, “are you a wandering generality or are you a meaningful specific?” In other words, do we simply let life happen or do we take charge of it?
When we set SMART goals, we choose to take control of our life and make the most of it. Doing so helps create a life full of purpose and passion. It helps us design and live the life we want.
SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. They give us the direction and motivation necessary to accomplish what we want out of life.
Set at least one SMART goal.
Break it down into mini milestones. Review it often. Monitor your progress. Stay committed. Get what you want out of life!
“A person’s true character is revealed in what they will do to accomplish their goal after the original excitement of setting the goal has passed.”
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