It’s the beginning of a new year and many people are contemplating what their resolutions will be. Shudder. I really don’t like the R word. I feel that just by calling something a resolution I am bound to fail. By the end of January. The Nielsen Firm found that only 64% of resolutions last after the end of January and only 46% last after June. Ugh. Instead, I like to set goals. Goals are something I can plan. I feel like I have control. I’ve learned, however, that there is a right way and a wrong way to set goals. What’s the right way? By being SMART about it. Learn how to create a SMART goal below.
What is SMART?
SMART is an acronym and it stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound
- Specific: What is the exact goal? Be precise.
- Measureable: How will you measure your success? How will you know when a goal is accomplished?
- Attainable (or Action steps): Breaking your goal down into reasonable steps that can be taken one at a time.
- Realistic: Set goals that are realistic, but still challenge you. Setting a goal that is completely unrealistic is only demoralizing.
- Time-bound: Your goal must have an end date. Deadlines keep us on track, otherwise we may work on our goal “later” which never comes.
Example of a SMART Goal
An example: Let’s say you want to “get organized” this year. That’s a pretty wide-sweeping goal. Here’s an organizing SMART goal:
Instead of saying “get organized” your goal could be “re-organize the pantry”(Specific).
Staying with the pantry example, perhaps you’d say “re-organize the pantry so there is nothing on the floor and I know exactly where to find everything.” (Measurable-you’ll be able to see if there’s anything on the floor or not.)
Organizing your pantry is definitely attainable! This can be broken down into actionable steps. The action steps for re-organizing your pantry could be 1) take out all the food and put into zones 2) throw away expired food 3) set aside food you will never eat for the food pantry 4) Find containers for food you’d like to decant and bins to keep like with like 5) put all the food back into the pantry by zones with the types of food you eat most often at eye level
Organizing your pantry is realistic. You are choosing one part of one room. (I daresay this accomplishment will have you craving more organization!)
For the last part of the goal, you could say “I’m going to re-organize my pantry before my mother-in-law arrives on January 22nd.” There, you now have a goal that is time-bound. There is a deadline.
And there you have it, you’ve made your first SMART goal.
And a Little Something Extra…
Studies by the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) found that you have a 65% higher chance of reaching your goal if you commit to someone. If you have a specific appointment with your accountability partner, that chance goes up to 95% that you’ll complete your goal.
In addition to setting a SMART goal, try and find an accountability partner. A like-minded friend, your spouse, or a mentor in your line of work. Schedule a weekly Facetime or monthly coffee date. You will be much more likely to knock it out of the park.
Now it’s time to take those to-do’s, goals or R-words and get ready to make them HAPPEN!
I personally have a very long to do list that I generated in the week between Christmas and New Years. So I have started to go through and group my to-do’s into goals. Sort of reverse engineering I guess. I realized I had quite a few to-dos that revolved around planning (plan my blog content for the year, brainstorm e-books to write, brainstorm giveaways). Now I am turning this huge list into SMART goals.
The wonderful thing about SMART goals is that it helps to naturally create a plan. Because a goal without a plan is just a dream, right?