SMART Personal Goals Explained
Setting goals is something many of us do at the beginning of the year. Typically, these are called “resolutions” and ultimately many of us end up not completing these resolutions during the year. Why is that? What makes some people able to complete a goal or a resolution while others are unable to follow through on this seemingly simple act? (BTW: I include myself in this!) 🙂
Well, you see many of these resolutions are actually dreams that people have, they are not goals as we would consider them. A goal should have a deadline – a realistic deadline; without a deadline a goal is merely a dream. But what makes for a realistic goal and an attainable deadline? Those are two of the most important questions you can ask yourself to become better as a human being – becoming better for yourself!
What is a SMART goal?
In the realm of personal development there is something called a SMART goal. The term SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. If something is not specific enough, say for instance a goal of “getting fit” then you may not feel motivated enough to actually obtain that objective. However, if you set yourself a goal of losing 5 pounds in 4 weeks time that is attainable, measurable, and very specific.
Many people divide their goals into personal, professional, and spiritual goals. When we are talking about your personal goals that would have to deal with anything that involves your personal life, such as your health, and your relationships. Now, obviously there are some factors you cannot control, so you should set realistic goals based upon what you can control in your life.
Keep goals that you have control over!
Improving your relationship with your wife, for instance, is a good personal goal to have; however, there is no controlling over how your wife will react to your changes in your life. You really only can control what you do from day to day. If you know you have personal problems that irritate your spouse, and you want to change these habits, then you can set goals to do just that.
Becoming healthier involves your personal life, and it can also help improve your relationships. If you know you could lose weight setting obtainable goals in this regards should be your very first step. However, what is your ultimate end goal that will keep you motivated throughout the whole journey? Defining this is one part that many people leave out and therefore is the reason why people abandon these goals.
Break up your larger goals into smaller chunks
Setting small obtainable goals that can be achieved in a realistic time frame is simply a way to break up a much larger goal into chunks. These manageable chunks then can be obtained through hard work and a lot of dedication over time. If you don’t have a strong enough “why” to lose weight for instance you simply won’t.
Changing your life for the better involves more than just sitting at home and watching the latest fad television programs showing other people moving forward (think “Biggest Loser,” for example, or some other trendy show). Rather, going beyond what you would normally do to achieve something you never had before is what sets those who obtain large goals from those that live a life of mediocrity.
Setting goals in one part of your life affects the rest of your life
Do you know where you want to be in five years, ten years, or even twenty years from now? Have you thought about where you would live during your retirement? My husband and I just sat down the other day to update our own plan. It’s important. These are related to your personal goals as working on your personal life spills over to your professional career. Either way fully understanding where you are going involves actually figuring out where you are now and how to make your life better each and every day.
Perhaps you have a personal goal of completing your college degree, even though you may have a good paying job. This goal can be achieved by first signing up to your local community colleges and universities to see what path you should take. Breaking up this goal is actually a lot easier because schools are broken up into semesters and have definable deadlines.
Furthering your education may also be another goal; again this is one of the easiest SMART goals to attain because these goals are already defined with deadlines baked into the degree program. Of course juggling your personal life, business life, and everything else may be a bit more difficult but at least you have everything outlined for you by the college where you sign up. Also, once you sign up for a class and commit to it, you’re going to be more likely to follow through since you probably paid a fairly considerable sum to enroll.
Keep your goal in sight at all times
Revisiting these goals on a weekly or monthly basis may be a great way to readjust your priorities. Of course it is only logical to have some change in your goals as your life changes over the years. Getting into the habit of setting these small, obtainable, and measurable goals, however, will change the way you see a lot of problems.
Practicing goal setting is a habit that many people simply don’t practice enough. This is why so many people today are unsatisfied with their own life, and it could be the reason ultimately why so many people get a divorce.
There are many online tools that can help you achieve these goals. These online tools will even sync up with your Smartphone to make it far easier to keep track of everything. In the field of physical fitness there are many more tools available such as the fit bit, Nike fuel band, and free online food trackers such as myfitnesspal.com which all can help with losing weight.
Finding out what tool works best with what you have is something that may take some time, however, if you really believe your goals are worth it then that is time well spent. Some of these online tools are branded by celebrities that try and get you to sign up to their online motivational courses. Since there is a lot of money backing these tools up they are generally well maintained and well worth your while to look into.
As you can see a goal is far different from a “resolution” you may have set in the beginning of this year. If you really intend to change your life then goal setting should be a very important part of your life going forward. Truly, without always setting higher and higher goals you may just remain stagnant and miserable.