Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Updated: Oct 9, 2018
Looking to lose weight? Change your eating habits? Write a book? Save money? What is your goal?
We all have goals that we hope to accomplish, but many of those goals go unachieved because they were never thought out. We tend to either make huge, world shattering, life altering goals that are big and scary, or we fail to make a goal that can actually be achieved. Then, for whatever reason, we don't accomplish these goals and we feel like a failure. (cue tissues, tubs of ice cream and going back to creating zero goals because goals suck)
I work with clients daily to help them achieve their goals, and I use a very simple acronym, S.M.A.R.T., to help us create goals that won't leave my clients feeling let down.
In November, 1981, Management Review posted a paper by George T. Doran called "There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives". From that time on, many professionals began using his S.M.A.R.T. acronym and you can too.
S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time related. Let's break these down.
Specific - When you are creating a goal, make sure it is specific. Instead of saying "I want to lose weight" swap that to something like "I want to lose 5 lbs."
Measurable - Make sure you can actually measure your goal out. If you are wanting to lose weight, use lbs, dress size, body fat percentage or something that you can measure. If you are writing a book, set a specific number of pages or chapters to write.
Achievable - Ask yourself, "can this be achieved?" Make sure your goal is something within the boundaries of what can be achieved. The example I always use with clients is if you wanted to lose 50 lbs in 2 weeks, unless you are chopping off body parts, it's not possible. Instead, pick something that can be achieved, like I'd like to lose 4lbs in 2 weeks.
Realistic - Now this may seem similar to achievable, but in reality they are quite different. Realistic has to do with you. Can you realistically achieve the goal? Using the above crazy scenario, let's say science has come up with a way you can lose 50lbs in 2 weeks (without losing body parts) but it would require you to stay at this special place, you could not go to work, see your family and it would cost millions of dollars. Could you do this? If the answer to whatever goal you set is "realistically, I cannot do what's required to achieve my goal", then you will not accomplish your goal.
Time Related - Your goal must have a start and finish time. We all want to accomplish things someday, but who knows when that will be. Set a time frame such as a week or a month.
Take whatever goal you have and see if it passes the S.M.A.R.T. test. By using this system, you will be more likely to accomplish your goals and feel more successful.
If you have any questions or would like to talk more about goal setting, please contact Brittany Shafsky at firstname.lastname@example.org