Goals are part of every single aspect of life: what you want to achieve at work, your relationships, even the way you use your free time. A goal can be anything that you set for yourself and work hard to achieve. The SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Bound) method is one of the most effective tools to help you achieve your goals, whether they are short or long term. If you want to climb Mount Everest, study for a degree, lose weight or run a marathon, the SMART method can easily be adapted to help you.
Work out exactly what you want to accomplish. The goal should be clear, simple and defined. For example, instead of saying “I want a better body ready for summer” you could say “I want to lose a stone by summer”. This makes the goal more specific. To set any type of goal ask yourself the following questions:
1. What do I want to achieve?
5. With whom?
6. For what reward?
A goal is measurable when you can track the progress and know when it’s been accomplished. This means having concrete evidence to determine the success of your goal. Ensuring your goal is measurable is a great way of keeping you motivated, from beginning to end. For example if your aim is to lose weight, the measurable is standing on the scales and seeing the numbers decrease. Also breaking your end goal down into bite size chunks is a great way to check that you’re going in the right direction.
One of the most common mistakes people make when setting life goals is that they are unattainable. You don’t want to choose a goal that is absolutely impossible to achieve. For example if you are new to running, setting a goal to run a marathon in 2 months will break you, both physically and mentally. If you give yourself 6 months and follow a progressive training programme, it becomes real and therefore more attainable.
The goal has to be relevant to you. Make sure that the goal you’re setting is worth the time and effort and will provide positive benefits in your life. The main question with relevance is ‘why do you want to reach this goal?’ If it’s about losing weight, the ‘why’ is because you want to be healthier inside and out. It’s also important to make sure you are doing it for your own gain, not for recognition from others.
If you set a time frame to accomplish your goal you will have to come up with a plan. Deadlines also give you the motivation to crack on. You must be flexible because life will get in the way. When this happens, adjust your timeframe and persevere! If your aim is to run a 10k in Aug you know that you have 4 months to train for it.
Remember the SMART method can be used for absolutely any goal or aim in your life. Start off with a small goal and see how it works for you. Give it a go, you have nothing to lose!
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