In the last session, we came up with a simple, easy-to-use definition for goals. If you’ve not read that one yet, you can find it here (Session 3).
Today, we’re going to discuss SMART goals.
I’m quite sure that many of you have heard of this acronym before. Even if you have, I want you to keep an open mind about learning a little more on the subject.
Whenever you’re setting a goal, you want to make sure it’s SMART. Here’s what that means:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Time Specific
Let’s look at each one of these individually.
- SPECIFIC. When you set a goal, I want it to be very specific. Most people are very vague about what they want, so they end up getting nothing. Let me give you an example. I was working with a lady a couple of months ago who lived in Connecticut. Her goal was to get more organized by January 31st, 2012. Was that specific? No! We changed her goal to, “I am learning seven new organizational techniques and implementing them by January 31, 2012. Now that’s specific!
- MEASURABLE. Whenever you set a goal, I want you to have a number or a percentage in it. Using the example from the lady in Connecticut, her first goal wasn’t measurable. “Get more organized” means nothing. The way it was originally written, if she had straightened up the paperclips in her drawer, she would have accomplished the goal. There was no measurement. But when we changed it to seven new techniques—it became measurable.
- ATTAINABLE. When you’re setting SMART goals, you want to make sure that they’re something that you can actually attain. In other words, they need to be under your control. You have a degree of influence and control when it comes to whatever it is that you’re going after. In other words, you have the ability to take action!
- REALISTIC. When you’re setting SMART goals, I want you to be realistic. Using an example from a previous session–if I told you I was going to lose 25 pounds this month, it wouldn’t be realistic. (Trust me, that not going to happen!!!) But if I said that I was going to lose 4 pounds this month—that’s realistic. I always want your goals to stretch you at least a little bit, but I also want them to be achievable.
- TIME SPECIFIC. I have to get a little anal with you on this one. When you’re setting a goal, you want to put a date in it. Don’t say, “By the end of the month.” Say, “By January 31st.” Or don’t say “By the beginning of the quarter,” say, “By April 1st.” I know it sounds like I’m splitting hairs here, but your subconscious mind doesn’t understand vague. It totally responds to specific. And you want your subconscious mind working with you.
Hopefully these brief descriptions make sense to you. In the upcoming sessions, we’ll go into a little more detail about how to use them.
Also, keep in mind that these sessions are building on each other. After just a few more, you will actually be creating your own goals!
Looking forward to helping you with these.