By Nikki Jarrett
We are told to set goals if you want o accomplish a task whether that task in small or big. But what if you don’t know what to set as your goal, or where to begin to create a plan to reach your goal?
With the steps explained in this blog you should be able to create a goal(s) and know how to implement the steps to achieve that goal.
The best way to create your goal is to start with S.M.A.R.T. goals.
What is a S.M.A.R.T. goal??
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for a frame work that helps you build a goal you can reach! S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
When creating a S.M.A.R.T. goal, you work through each of these terms to build a goal that is clear in defining what needs to be accomplished, when it needs to be accomplished, and how you’ll know when you reach your goal. Creating goals this way is helpful, because it eliminates generalities and guesswork. It sets a clear finish line, and makes it easier to track progress and areas that need to be improved.
Let’s go through each of these letters and begin building that goal of yours.
A goal needs to be specific so we know exactly what we are looking to measure, and know if/when we hit our goal. We need to be able to answer a few questions clearly with our goal:
What do you want to accomplish?
Who will accomplish this goal?
What steps do you need to do in order to accomplish this goal? (Build smaller goals (a.k.a short-term) that help you reach you’re larger (a.k.a long-term) goals?
You can also use these letter to build those short-term goals.
Answering these questions will help you define clearly what is it you want as your goal and the steps necessary to complete your goal.
Example: I want to be able to do body weight Pull-ups.
The above goal is a great start to building a goal, but it’s not yet complete. What is missing is a measurable number.
Having a number attached to your goal quantifies your goal and you can be sure to know when you reached your goal and helps track progress.
Example: I want to be able to do 5 body weight Pull-ups.
Goals should help you feel successful. They should not be so high that you feel that they are not close to being attainable, then ultimately not achieve your goals.
This is the tough one for some because this is the time where you need to be honest with yourself. It’s important to consider any conditions or limitations that might impede your goal and what you can do to build smaller steps/goals to reach your larger goal.
Is the goal you’ve outlined so far actually reasonable?
Is it something you could realistically accomplish?
Example: I know I can do 1 Body weight Pull-up but 5 would be challenging but doable if I work on it.
We want our goals to be realistic, if we set the bar too high for our goals then we are more likely to give up and ultimately not accomplish what we originally wanted to. This is a good time to assess your goal and see how important/committed you are to reaching your goal. Once you have an idea of what it will take to achieve your goal, you can determine whether you are committed enough to follow through. You must be willing to put in the time and effort to achieve your goals.
A few questions to ask yourself to determine if this goal is realistic…
Why do I want to achieve this goal?
Am I willing to put in the time and effort to achieve this goal? If not, then we can reevaluate the goal or create a new one.
Is there anything that you are unwilling to do or can’t do that could prevent you from reaching your goal? (example: If I have shoulder injury preventing my from doing pull-ups, then this is not a good goal to have yet.)
Once you know these answers you can create a goal that is realistic to the time and effort you are able to put in.
Example: Knowing I can do 1 body weight pull up now, it is realistic to achieve 5 but not 100… yet.
Final piece to creating a goal is setting deadline. By having a deadline you can measure your success, did you reach your goal or no? Your goals should have deadlines included in them, to ensure how to stay on track within a designated timeline. A deadline should be as realistic as the goal at hand too. This helps define if your goal is a long-term or short-term goal.
Can your goal be achieved tomorrow, next week, 30 days, 6 months, a year or longer?
Long-term goal: something that will take a long time to accomplish, greater than 1 year’s time to several years
Short-term goals: something you want to accomplish in the near future up to 1 years time
You can break down your larger, long-term goals into smaller, short-term goals that will help you stay on track and focus during the time it will take to reach your larger goals.
Example: I want to be able to complete 5 body weight pull ups by December 31st of this year. This gives me 4 months to increase by 1 pull-up a month. I need to do 2 body weight pull-ups by September 30t, 3 by October 31st, 4 by November 30th and then 5 by December 31st!
Now you know how to create a SMART goal! It is time to set targets that are informative and motivating. Here are the next few steps to help you implement your plan for success!
Write it down! Don’t let rely on your brain to remember all the details. WRITE IT DOWN!
In a study conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, it was concluded that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down on a regular basis.
2. Set check-ins with yourself or a trusted friend.
Any goal worth achieving won’t happen overnight (sorry). It’s going to take some time to reach your goal, and it’s important to check in on your progress to ensure you aren’t falling off-track. This will help you stay focus or refocus you if you do fall off track, because we are only human.
3. Celebrate the smell wins! This is huge in keeping you motivated. Don’t be afraid to do a little happy dance when you reach your short-term goals.
Essentially what happens in your brain when you celebrate the small wins: is the brain chemical called dopamine spikes when we anticipate something important is about to happen (such as achieving that second pull-up or something that we set out to do). That’s when motivation gets a boost giving us the energy or momentum to continue to our larger, long-term goal.
Now, you are on your way to reaching all your goals. Remember set S.M.A.R.T. goals and celebrate the small wins along the way.
Good luck! I know you’ll reach all the things you really want to reach!