The single biggest thing I’ve ever done to improve my life and get closer to what I want is setting regular, SMART goals.
You’ve probably at least heard of SMART goals even if you don’t know what they are. The concept was created by George Doran and here’s what S.M.A.R.T. stands for:
S – Specific: A goal like running a marathon in the next 3 months is way more specific and focused than a goal like running more.
M – Measurable: Again, a goal like running a marathon is easy to measure and you can easily tell when you’ve accomplished it, whereas running more is vague.
A – Attainable: If you’ve never even jogged before and you have a broken leg, then running a marathon in the next 3 months might not be attainable for you (or maybe it is?) so make sure you’re setting goals you can realistically accomplish.
R – Relevant: If you’re more of a weight lifter and you hate to run, then setting a goal to run a marathon probably isn’t relevant to you. It’s never a good idea to set goals that will lead you to a life that you don’t really want.
T – Timely: Running a marathon in the next 3 months is timely; you have a deadline. If you just set a goal like running a marathon eventually then it’s more of a bucket list item, not a goal – and you might not ever accomplish it!
So that’s a rough idea of the qualities of a SMART goal. Whenever you’re setting a goal, it’s a good idea to ask yourself if it’s SMART.
Now here are 8 steps to achieving them!
Step 1: Decide EXACTLY what you want. Being specific is key to setting great goals. When you know exactly what it is you want, you have a clearer idea of exactly how to get there and more motivation to work towards it!
Step 2: Write it down. Writing your goals down is important for so many reasons. I actually wrote a post about why exactly it’s so important that you can read right here.
Step 3: Set a deadline. Deadlines motivate us to get stuff done. Have you ever almost run out of time to finish a work project, homework assignment, or something else? When the deadline was getting close you probably got your butt in gear and got stuff done, right?
Step 4: Make a list of everything you need to do to achieve the goal. A goal without a plan is just a dream! Knowing exactly what you need to do to get where you want to be can make you WAY more likely to achieve your goals. If you don’t know what you need to do to reach the goal, then how are you going to?
Step 5: Turn the list into a plan. After you make the list of all the steps you need to take, make plans to get it all done. Schedule things into your planner, calendar, journal, etc.
Step 6: Start immediately. Don’t put off your goals or you might not ever get anything done. There’s no perfect time to start anything. Plus, you want to reach them ASAP, right?
Step 7: Do something every single day that moves you toward your goal(s). If you do one small thing every day to move you closer, you’ll be reaching all of your goals before you know it!
You might like: How to Actually Follow Through With Goals
Step 8: Reward yourself for accomplishments. I’ve said it many times but I’ll say it again! Rewards are a powerful motivator for getting things done. If you think “I just need to do this one thing and I can get XYZ” then you’ll definitely want to keep going. Here’s a list of 20 healthy and inexpensive ways to reward yourself for achieving goals!
Do you set SMART goals? What’s the biggest thing that helps you achieve your goals? Let’s chat in the comments!
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I totally agree about the importance of setting SMART goals. Goals that aren’t specific or measurable quickly get pushed to the back burner. One of the things that helps me stick to my goals is breaking my goals down into short-term, achievable tasks and writing those tasks down in my planner at the beginning of each week.
The SMART approach to setting goals sounds like it would work well for me – at least get me motivated and organized!
Do something everyday day great advice I’m going to remind myself of this one! Thanks
Amber Myers says
You have some great tips here. I will be sure to keep them in mind. I do reward myself…mostly with trips to Target 😉
I LOVE this, thank you! I haven’t heard much about the SMART approach before and I really like it. I’m terrible for writing down a million different things on my to-do list, then it becomes overwhelming and I don’t end up doing half of it lol. So your tips makes it more organized and thought out, thank you 🙂
Tara Pittman says
Setting goals is important for success. These are so good goals.
I am definitely more successful at accomplishing my goals when I write them down. I have 2 major goals I’m working on right now and I think if I add a deadline that will also help push me.
Lavanda Michelle says
I’ve always loved SMART and these 8 steps provided are clear and concise, making it easy for me to follow along and start setting achievable goals for myself. I especially appreciate step 4, which emphasizes the importance of having a plan. As a busy mom, it’s easy for me to get overwhelmed with all of the things I need to do, but breaking them down into smaller steps and creating a plan makes them much more manageable.
The biggest thing for me is celebrating the little wins. That means I’m that much closer!
Richelle Milar says
What a really great and very helpful tips you have here. I’m surely going to take note of this.
It is good to set goals and have a strategy. Sometimes I find myself being distracted, and it is good to have a plan.
Beautiful Touches says
I love the SMART acronym and that it’s segmented into steps that make it easier to accomplish!
I am so agree with you! And this really works! The most important the first step!
Zab Zaria says
I am glad to know about it! I really appreciate the tips you’ve shared and I found that so helpful!