Whether you call them goals, objectives, targets, or your Holy Grails, if you want them to ever become a reality in your life, they need to be something specific and measurable.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bounded. If the goals you’re setting for yourself comply with this standard you will have a bigger chance of achieving them than those, for instance, that are too vague or don’t come with a specific deadline.
So, the SMART standard goes like this:
S, for Specific: Your goal must be clear and detailed enough so anybody can understand it –including and especially yourself!
M, for Measurable: always add dates, numbers, and amounts; “more money”, or “less weight” won’t work. You’ll have to set an exact number; that is, how much of that do you want (we’ll also add a “by when” a few lines later).
A, for Attainable: your goal should be something able to be accomplished given the specific amount, deadline and all the circumstances around it. This doesn’t mean you choose to go on the easy way –something that too easy to achieve; but shouldn’t mean that you are going after the fantasy either (like losing 100 pounds in a week). Be smart and don’t limit yourself based on your beliefs, but don’t set yourself up for the impossible.
R, for Realistic: and this means it should be in line with your life purpose. It is a waste of time to climb all the way to the top of the ladder only to find that it was leaning against the wrong wall.
T, for Time-Bounded: here it is our “by when”. Setting a deadline for the completion of your goal adds a vital accountability and motivational factor to this formula. If you don’t have the pressure to make it happen, you won’t do what’s necessary.
For example: if your goal is to do some jogging but never seem to find the time –or the will, you’ll get more “motivation” with a mean Rottweiler chasing after you than with a friend sweet-talking you into it.
And I’d like to add one more item to the list:
Align your Goals with the Greater Good; see that you don’t harm anyone in the process of achieving it.
Like the great coach Jack Canfield stated once: “you can have a goal of breaking 50 car antennas on your way home… It’s specific, measurable, attainable, and time-bounded; but you’ll surely harm a lot of people in the process…
So keep this in mind: always see that the fulfillment of your goals would help create a better world for everyone.
And remember, if you ever find yourself a little short in the motivational department, wel... you can always get a Rottweiler.