Get SMART In 5 Easy Steps

Create achieveable goals to make changes in your life.

Image by gabrielle_cc from Pixabay

Sometimes we make things harder than it should be. The SMART system of goal setting was created in 1981 and has significant research to support the effectiveness of the system. And yet, instead of creating smart goals, we continue to try to reinvent the wheel.

If you are looking to make changes in your life, keep it simple and create a plan that will carry you to the finish line!

1. Specific  

Your goals should be clear and as precise as possible. For example, “I will exercise more” becomes “I will walk one mile per day for 30 days.” Or, “I will be more mindful” becomes “I will complete one guided meditation daily using my meditation app for 90 days.”  The more specific you can be, the less you need to think about what you need to do, and the more you can focus on doing the tasks that support your goal.

2. Measurable

Goals that work for you clearly define what you want to achieve: walk one mile, meditate for 5 minutes, and ride your bike to work three times per week.  Measurable goals help you to know if you are meeting your targets immediately.

3. Attainable

Setting goals that you have little chance of achieving can be discouraging and demoralizing. For example, if you have never run before and want to become a runner, setting your first goal as running a marathon in 3 months is likely impossible and could result in physical injury. Most runners spend 4-5 months training for a marathon. A better first goal may be running three times per week and working up to a 5K. If a marathon is your ultimate goal, you can get there if you make your initial goals attainable. 

4. Relevant

The outcome of your goals should have personal meaning for you. Your goals should align with your values and long-term goals for your life. Review your goals and ask yourself, “Is this what I want?” Is the outcome of the goal important to you, or is it to meet someone else’s expectations or desires?  If the goal is not relevant to you and your life, you are unlikely to follow it through to completion.

5. Time-Limited

Goals need to have an end date. Setting clear timelines allows you to plan your tasks and recognize your achievements. We use goals to stretch ourselves and motivate ourselves, but if the timeline is too short, we may give up. If the timeline is too long, it or gives us too much time to procrastinate.

Start smart and finish strong.

Take the time to plan smart goals, breaking them down into attainable pieces. Work one step at a time and watch the pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

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Seeking Health and Happiness One Day at a Time.

Marcy Berg is a writer and therapist living in the Pacific Northwest and exploring thoughts on mental health, wellness, and happiness. She can be found at Growing Through Life and Seeking Greener Pastures.

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