Happy New Year! Did you begin this year with a list of resolutions? Are you hoping to become healthier, to become a better budgeter, or to have stronger relationships? Oftenwe set goals that are so large, they become overwhelming and unattainable. When you are not able to accomplish your resolutions, you can become discouraged and give up.
One way to avoid discouragement is to turn your goals into SMART goals instead of just items on a “To Do list”. Most items on “to do lists” are task based and short-term. Resolutions are often focused on self-improvement over a longer period of time. SMART goals are first credited to George T. Doran, who wrote a paper titled “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives” in the November 1981 issue of Management Review.
Let’s walk through the process of making a goal SMART .
- Is the goal Specific? What do you want to accomplish? Why would you like to do this?
- “I want to exercise more often than I have before. I want to become healthier so that I don’t have as many aches and pains. I will ask Sally to walk with me two times a week so that I have accountability.”
- Is it Measurable? How will you measure your progress? How will you know when you have achieved this goal?
- “I will measure my progress with my fitness tracker. I will know that I have achieved the goal when I increase my step count by at least 50 steps each day.”
- Is it Achievable? What steps can you take to accomplish this? Do you have what you need to make this goal happen?
- “I will walk for 5 minutes every hour I am awake. I will not park in the closest parking spot. I will meet Sally when I say that I will. I will have a positive attitude, and I will not make up excuses.”
- Is it Relevant? Why is this important to you?
- “This goal is important to me because I am tiring more quickly. I know that staying active will be good for me.”
- Is it Time-related? When will you work on this goal? When would you like to complete it?
- “I will work on this goal daily and track my progress monthly. I will not get discouraged if I miss a day. I will keep trying and not give up.”
As you get started, you can create your own journal for tracking your progress or there are many different SMART worksheets on the world wide web. Then place your goal(s) in a prominent place and celebrate your successes, big or small, and give yourself permission to start over if you need to.