Have you heard of the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting method?
When I discovered this, a few years ago, it changed my life! Up to that point I was simply writing down “what I want” and, I must admit, suffered from a lot of “vague” goals like, “make more money”, “exercise more”… and, well, I was barely reaching any of my goals. Then I found the S.M.A.R.T. method and I looked over my goals from the past and realized that those goals I “got” were ones that “accidentally” met the S.M.A.R.T criteria.
While that famous Harvard study about written goals has been debunked, I DO find that writing out your goals adds an incredible sense of power and commitment to the process. Write down your goals and then review them often! Nothing is more exciting than “checking off” of your list a goal that you’ve achieved!
So how do you create a S.M.A.R.T. goal?
The easiest way to answer this question is to break down the acronym:
Specific – Take a look at these two goals: “I want to lose weight” or “I want to lose 35lbs by June 15th”. As you read them, which elicits an emotional response in you? Does the “I want to lose weight” do anything for you? or is it too vague, too uncommitted? On the other hand, as you read “I want to lose 35lbs by June 15th” chances are you feel a bit motivated. You are able to create a picture of your goal achieved and you may even feel the excitement of feeling 35lbs lighter in your body. You want it.
Measureable – The question to ask yourself here is “How will I know when I have achieved this goal”. How will you feel, what, specifically will have changed? Is it a number on the scale? A specific number in your paycheck? Your first online sale? Holding the keys to your new home or car?
Attainable – Is this goal realistic? A great goal is JUST out of reach. Now that does not mean you can’t have a vision of something much grander, but as you look at that grand vision, create stepping stones to get there- in the form of smaller, realistic goals to reach for.
Attainable also means it is something that YOU are in charge of. Setting a goal to put a new roof on the house by July 10th -when your spouse insists they do it themselves and they don’t seem too interested in doing it – makes the attainability of this goal less likely. Keep your goals within your power.
Relevant – This is an area where I work very closely with my clients. There is a lot involved in this process, but the short answer here is: Ask yourself how does this goal fit in to your life? For example if it’s important for you be a parent who attends almost every one of your child’s sports games, plays, school events, etc, does a goal of making $600,000 a year as an on the road sales rep or a goal to become a Broadway actor fit into your overall vision for your life? A lot of subtleties come in to play with Relevancy, at the very least look at each goal from that broader life view.
Time-Bound – this is what they call “a goal with a deadline”. If you don’t set an “end” date, a date that you plan to have a goal by, it’s easy to just take your time getting there, or cast the goal aside when the going gets a bit rough. If you’re goal is worded something like this “Someday I’ll…” then you’re setting yourself up for a long road to the goal.
Use this criteria to create some great goals. Goals that are clear and motivating. You can also check out my article Goals vs Vision vs Resolutions…it matters for more details.
- Break your life into a few categories (i.e. family/relationships, finances, health/fitness, business/professional, Lifestyle/Fun, etc)
- Using the S.M.A.R.T. method create 3-5 goals within each category.
- Write these goals down in a simple sentence. Remember to include specifics and a “achieve by” date.
- Review these goals often.
I truly love sharing what I learn with you. Watching someone have an "a-ha" moment is one of the best things in life for me.
Because I am a consummate "student" - when I find something new and interesting, I really dig deep. I study hard and then I use what I've learned to help others. (Yeah, I have gathered together quite a toolbox!)
I truly do believe in the power of "Jump Starts" and the ability everyone has to "get un-stuck." If I can do it, anyone can!
You can connect with me by email at startnewyearright (at) gmail.com and visit my personal website is: www.mariannestrait.com
I believe that every human is unique and valuable,
even if they aren't able to recognize it themselves.
I believe each and every one has the power to create a great life
once they recognize -and accept- their value.
Even as a child I've been able to help people change the way they see themselves - helping them move from a "victim" to an "owner" mindset. I help them to gain self-confidence and recognize their strengths. I've discovered that it's only when you do that, can you "get un-stuck" and "Jump Start" your life.
What drives me is helping others to succeed, to be a support system while they are taking steps toward their dream, and to watch them celebrate their victories.
The Biggest Lesson I've learned is the power of your mind. It truly does create and destroy.
It was quite a shock when I realized the power that my mindset played in every part of my life - good and bad. Discovery wasn't enough though, it still took me decades to harness this power, learn to control it, and develop a system to help others master this in a fraction of the time it took me.
Taking responsibility - even for how others treated me - was one of the hardest adjustments I had to make. To move from Victim to Owner mindset was not only difficult, it was, at times, scary.
It is a move that I am thrilled to have taken. It changed my life and it can change yours.