How to Stay on Target
with SMART Goals 

Using "Smart Goals" is  a goal-setting strategy that clearly identifies what you want to achieve and helps you focus on a single end point.  Have you ever taken your car out for a drive, with no specific idea of where you want to go?  Most likely, when you get into your car, you have a specific destination in mind. Goals are no different.  Without goals you have no targeted direction or sense of purpose.

Goals are divided further into steps as part of an action plan.  This becomes a sequential process for reaching your destination.  As part of your time management, goal setting helps you set priorities.  To craft goals, I use the acronym “SMART”.  SMART Goals stand for Specific; Measurable; Attainable; Relevant; and Tangible.  The best SMART goals are short-term targets that involve activities that you control.

Here is an example of a goal and corresponding set of achievable SMART goal components.  The overall goal is “I want to be healthy with a fit body that gives me energy and allows me to enjoy life.”  The SMART goals derived from this dream statement might look something like this:

  • I will weigh a healthy XXX pounds.
  • I will exercise one-half hour each day.
  • I will eat a reasonable and healthy diet.
  • I will eliminate my habit of staying up late and not getting enough sleep.
  • I will keep myself informed by researching a health related topic monthly.

Let's take a closer look at the five different aspects of SMART Goals.

Create Specific Goals

Goals should be straightforward, concrete, and well defined.  If goals are vague the results will be vague.  A specific goal is one that is clearly defined in such a way that anyone could understand what you intend to accomplish.
Instead of a vague goal, "I want to lose weight," establish a specific goal,  "I want to lose 10 pounds in 2 months."

Create Measurable Goals

If you can not measure the goal, you can not manage the goal.  You need to establish a way of assessing the progress towards the goal.  A good measurable goal will be one where anyone can view the results to determine whether or not you have met your goal.  With measurable goals you can check your progress as you are moving forward toward that target.
Instead of a vague goal, "I want to be out of debt," create a measurable goal, "By this time next year, I will have retired the amount owed on my credit card."

Create Attainable Goals

When creating goals we must make certain that we can achieve the results and that they are not out of reach.  Creating goals that you can not reach is only going to bring you frustration and deflate your self-esteem.  Always be realistic and create goals that you, using your knowledge, skills and abilities, can attain.
Instead of a vague unrealistic goal, "I want my new web business to be profitable after 2 months," create an attainable goal, "By this time next year, my web business will show a profit."

Create Relevant Goals

Goals need to have a purpose.  Why are you investing your time and energy in accomplishing this goal?  Is this goal a priority?  As you plan your weeks and days, you set goals to accomplish tasks that are important.  Without relevant goals, you may find yourself accomplishing a lot of meaningless tasks that could be summed up as busy work. We all need a purpose in life.  Make certain that you create goals that have relevancy in your life.
Instead of saying," I am going to continue to work on my English paper after it has been graded," make the goal more relevant by saying, "I will work on the English paper until I hand it in."

Create Tangible Goals

We like to see the results of our labor.  When designing goals, make certain that everyone who is involved in meeting the goal understands what is expected.  Sometimes you may establish goals with your family, and each member has a part to play in making certain that the goal is met.  Maybe you are cleaning the backyard for the spring season and you need the kids to help with the clean up.  Make certain that everyone knows what the result is to be.
Instead of saying, "We are going to be successful," make the goal tangible by saying, "We are going to clean all of the trash from garage by 5pm today."

Here is an affordable product that helps you learn the goal setting process.  Easy to use and effective! 

Then, try using your goal setting skills to improve your overall life balance. Start by taking the Wheel of Life exercise. Review how you are spending the hours of your days and weeks.  Is the use of time consistent with your priorities.  Consider re-aligning your time management with your SMART goals.  Less stress and more self satisfaction will be coming your way!

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