Goal setting is an important tool for changing your lifestyle. SMART Goals are a formula to create an effective plan of action to produce a desired result. In other words, SMART Goals are the directions that take you from where you are to where you want to go.
So why are they called SMART? The letters that spell out S-M-A-R-T stand for guidelines for making effective (or smart) goals.
Specific means to focus your goal on one change you will make. It is hard to figure out how to “Eat Healthy,” but it is much easier to try to “eat 2 servings of fruit a day.”
Measurable reminds you to think about how you will track your progress. How can you tell if you are “walking more?” It’s much easier to know if you are “walking for 30 minutes, 5 days a week.”
Achievable goals do not set you up for failure. If you are a couch potato and set a goal to run a marathon next month, you probably will not achieve your goal. Think about pushing yourself outside your comfort zone, but not so far you just give up.
Realistic means to set goals that fit into your lifestyle. It may not be realistic to decide to get more activity by taking up roller derby, which needs a lot of equipment and may not be offered in your area. Realistic goals also are lined up with your end results. If you are trying to lose weight, setting a goal to take the stairs and park further away from the store probably aren’t enough to deliver a lower number on the scale.
Time-based is simply giving yourself a deadline. A deadline will help motivate you as well as give you an opportunity to evaluate your progress. Maybe you need to keep working on your new behavior until it becomes a habit. Maybe your goal has become a habit and now you are ready to set a new one.
By taking the time to work through setting a SMART Goal, you will be increasing the likelihood of success. You will map out a plan that will fit with your lifestyle and should give you the results that you want. By making it measurable with a deadline, it will help to motivate you to succeed.
Take a few minutes to think about something you would like to change or improve. Create a SMART Goal from your idea and share it in the comments section.