We are probably all familiar with the problem: In the beginning of the year it’s easy to brainstorm goals and resolutions. However, as the year progresses, we tend to “forget”, or rather avoid them.
Why is it that we have such a difficult time sticking to achieving our goals? Most of the time, it’s because our goals are not smart. And by smart goals, I’m really refering to S.M.A.R.T.
Are your goals SMART?
SMART is a very basic but effective concept in business, which can help you in your private life as well. Every letter represents a specific requirement, which is listed below.
S stands for Specific
M stands for Measurable
A stands for Attainable
R stands for Realistic
T stands for Time Sensitive
Let’s say you want to read more books in 2016. In order to develope and nurture this habit and turn it into an essential part of your life, you need to clearly define such a goal by being SMART.
Here’s how it works:
SMART Goals in 2016
Most people make the mistake of being to generic when it comes to goal setting.
Some may say: “I want to read more books this year.” Do you think you will be able to change based on this wishful thinking? Not really. The problem is simple – it has to be specific.
Instead, you might say “I want to read at least 1 book a week for the rest of this year.”
Now that’s a commitment! Which brings us to the second step:
Your goal needs to be measurable. How else are you going to be able to track your progress?
With our goal above, you might want to read at least 40 pages every day. That’s measurable!
After all, you can check how many pages you read in a day – no guessing game.
As humans, we need positive affirmations every now and then to understand that what we do actually works. Thus, you should start with small steps, especially if what you are approaching is rather new to you. That way, you will link positive emotions to your new goal. (Even if it may require you to step out of the comfort zone every now and then.)
However, in order to make your goal attainable, it also has to be realistic.
You should definitely take your daily routine into account. If you know that you can’t read those 40 pages every day, at least not on Saturday’s because of your schedule, then you should allow yourself that “off-time”.
It’s better to follow your schedule 6 times a week with one day off, compared to stopping entirely just because you can’t meet your initial schedule that you set up for yourself.
We often fall into the trap of neglecting a new plan, simply because we feel that we can’t meet it anyway. By making sure that it’s realistic, we naturally motivate ourself to keep our focus.
T: Time Sensitive
One day you will want to know for sure whether you actually reached your goal or not.
Using phrases such as “Someday” will not help you. Instead, set a specific date.
If you want to read a book every week, you should take a piece of paper and write down if you actually managed to finish a book that week. At the end of the year, after repeatedly tracking your progress, you can review your list and see how well you did.
The best moment to start is NOW! Define your goal but be “smart” about it.
The more often you actually realize your SMART goals, the more motivated you will be.
As a matter of fact, it will become much easier to take action once you know it works.
Transform your career and your personal life by using SMART goals and you will improve even faster than you ever imagined.