I remember being in college in my form tutor group and learning about SMART goals and thinking “Pah, who needs this?!”. It seemed too simple. And yet here I am having not even slightly following the career path I was setting up for myself then, so I suppose the answer is ME. I need SMART goals. Over the last few years I (and many, many of my friends) have set a myriad of goals that fall off track, get forgotten, get lost in translation or that totally fall off the wagon after a couple of days/weeks. SMART is what you need.
It’s true that this is a simple concept, but it’s also true that it works. You’ll have seen recently that I’ve been sharing more about my goal setting processes and some tools that will help you, and this is one of the first tools for a reason: it forms a great basis for whatever other goals you choose to set. It’s a simple framework that sets you up for setting meaningful, intentional goals that don’t vanish off the face of the earth as soon as you get busy, or that seems just too much. Check it out!
SMART Goal Setting
So let’s break it down. Your goals should be SMART.
S – Specific. Get super, super specific. Even when you think you’re being specific enough, narrow it down further. “I want to be better with money” is not as effective as “I want to save 10% of my income each month”, which is still not as effective as “I want to save 10% of my income each month so that I can afford my dream holiday to Bali to live on sand and smoothies”. Why are you wanting to do it? What will happen if you do? What happens if you don’t? The stronger your “why” is, the stronger the goal will be and the more inspired you will be. Smart goals are founded on purpose.
M – Measurable. How are you going to track what you’re doing? Is there a specific amount to save, a number to hit, weight to lift, number of words to write? Work out how you’ll keep track of your own progress in some kind of measurable unit so that you also know when to stop. This seems like common sense, but I said for years that I wanted to lose an unidentified amount of weight without knowing when to stop, when I’d even made progress or what on earth I was doing. If you don’t know how you’re going to track what you’re trying to do, it’s easy to get lost along the way, feel like you haven’t come far enough, or that it’s just too much of an uphill battle.
A – Achievable. Probably the number one reason we all seem to trip over our own feet when going after our goals is that we don’t really set truly achievable goals. We sometimes set them on too short a time limit – saving £300 before your holidays in 2 weeks when it means you’ll barely be able to pay your rent likely isn’t really doable, nor is expecting to be able to have a fully fledged 6 figure business after doing 20 minutes of planning (shout out to u there Bre). Is it doable in the time you have with the resources you have? Or is there a smaller stepping stone you need to hit first?
R – Realistic. This falls under a similar vein to be achievable but is equally important. Expecting success overnight is unrealistic. Do you have the tools (or at least access to the tools) that you’ll need? Do you have the time? Is it really going to fit into your lifestyle or will you need to make some changes? So often we say we’re going to start going to the gym 5 times a week without paying mind to the fact that you have a full-time job, two kids, a dog, a house to take care of and a blog to run. Can you make it work in the long term? If not, what needs to be done to get there?
T – Timely. How long will it take to achieve your goal? Is there a time you want to complete it by? An event to work towards? If your goal isn’t determined by a pre-existing event like a holiday or a meeting or deadline, make up your own time frame. Without a time frame, most of us simply don’t do the work because we’re in no hurry, and before we know it our goal has gathered dust on the great shelf of life. Finally, make your time frame Smart too. If you’re trying to do too much too quickly you’ll be on a sure trip to overwhelm, just as having no time limit is going to have you sat on your laurels waiting for success to happen.
The next post in this series is actually all about time frames, and we’ll dig deeper into setting a time limit on every stage of your goal setting.
What Happens When Your Goals Are Smart
When you set SMART Goals, you’re setting yourself up to be motivated, taking inspired action, and to actually succeed. You basically already have an action plan at your fingertips! Working through the template doesn’t take long, but it does get into some of the nitty gritty of goal setting and help you work out some kinks before you even encounter them.
In the meantime, if you missed out last month where I talked about intentional goal setting, there is still time to hop on my mailing list before this month’s Goal Setting Supplement goes out! This month you’ll get a free printable goal planner for the month of February and a free printable template for setting your own SMART goals. In addition to that you get freebies even just for joining, printables to help you get yourself on track for success and all the self love and care tips you could possibly need. I hope you’ll join me!
What kind of goals are you setting yourself this month? As always, if you have any questions or comments do let me know, and I’ll do my best to answer them either personally or in a future post!