Goals are tricky. Most all of us set goals on a regular basis. I also know that most of us do not achieve these goals either. It is not because we are bad people, we always have good intentions when we set these goals. The failure points in setting goals are one, or a combination of, the following reasons
Goal Failure Points
- Too ambitions
- Not enough time
- Not flexible
- Not measurable
- Do not know who is supposed to do the work to achieve the goal
- Too much time
- Lose interest in the goal
And the list goes on.
If you are having a hard time achieving goals don’t feel alone. Many of us have the exact same problem as you. But I am here to help.
Enter the SMART Goal. SMART is an acronym and I will explain it below:
If you want to achieve something be specific about it. Instead of setting a goal that is the end in mind set one specific target. If your target is weight loss maybe your specific goal can be, Walk 5 days a week for 30 minutes. Your specific target is beginning to exercise with a specific amount and specific time. These are very targeted and easily measurable, which is the next letter.
Goals must be measurable. My wife and I go back and forth on this one all the time with weight loss. It is not good enough to say I want to lose weight, or look better. That is not really measurable. However if you are training properly then saying I want to lose 15 pounds may not be accurate either. Muscle weighs more than fat so the best goal to set is: I will lose a total of 10 inches measured from four different locations. Now we have a measurable goal that will tell us the result that we want, to look better. (Other acceptable goals for body reconstruction might be, I will lose 2 dress sizes (or pants sizes for the guys), I will track my eating habits for 15 straight days, I will drink 64 ounces of water a day…)
As mentioned earlier in order for goals to be achievable they must be specific. But there is more to it than that. We have to set reasonable expectations for ourselves. I am 40 years old. Setting a goal of being a Punter in the NFL is not an achievable goal. I am too old, and I don’t kick the ball very far anymore. I will make $1,000,000 this year is not reasonable for someone who only currently makes $50,000 a year. I know I have been there and set those goals before. They don’t work. Make sure you can achieve your goal with a reasonable amount of effort. Setting goals this way is also a momentum builder. Once you have achieved a few goals you can up your effort again and begin to achieve bigger and bigger goals.
This is the part where you begin to ask yourself is this really what I want, or will I actually work hard for this goal. I would love to be an NFL Punter, but am I really willing to work my butt off for it? Probably not. So it is not really a realistic goal for me. I would like to drop a pant size, feel more athletic, and be able to run a 10K race at a moments notice. That is realistic and reasonable for me at 40. So now I can set my goals around that.
Your goals must have a time frame. Putting a time limit on something makes you get your butt in gear. Parkinsons Law says
“work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.
If you allocate a lot of time to achieve a goal you will be able to do it. If you feel yourself procrastinating then you have given yourself too much time. Timing is tricky but with a little practice you can set your goals in a time frame that motivates you to get things done giving you just enough time to complete the task.
Hope that clears a few things up. There are several different interpretations to this method. Here are a few extra resources for you to make your own SMART Goal system.
Let me know what you think and how this has helped you in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you.