How to set SMART goals (and make them work for you)
You’ve no doubt been introduced to SMART goals at some point in your life or career. While the acronym seems to change depending on who you’re talking to or learning from, the basis of the goal-setting technique is the same.
Let’s dig in.
Your goal needs to be specific in what it means to you. You need clarity around what the goal actually is so you’re focusing your efforts in the right area.
While it may be easy to measure some goals with metrics, other goals may be harder to quantify. For example, if your goal is to ‘start a business’, when will you know you’ve achieved it? Is it when your website goes live? When you make your first sale? Set a measurable target that will let you know when you have reached your goal. I also encourage clients to set mini-goals or milestones on the lead up to the big goal. This helps things seem less overwhelming and far more manageable.
Now, this word changes frequently in the SMART goal setting realm, but I like to use attractive over attainable for example. If a goal isn’t attractive, we’re going to have no desire to work towards it. Why would we? We’re wired to want comfort and pleasure and while we will have to work hard and get uncomfortable on the way to the goal, we want the pay-off to be worth it. Make sure your goal is attractive to you in some way. Simply ‘losing weight’ isn’t particularly attractive is it? But, saying you desire to feel sexy and full or energy has much more appeal.
This word is also often substituted for ‘realistic’, but we’ll run with relevant because I feel this is super-important to address. Is your goal really relevant to what you want? Why do you want to start a business/lose weight/move home/get a promotion/find a partner? Get honest with yourself. If you put in all the work for some goal that really holds no relevance to you, you’re wasting your time. Check-in with yourself to make sure you want to achieve the outcome and you’re not simply doing it to please or impress someone else.
Time-specific or time-bound
It’s a good idea to set a date for your goal. I like to use this as the starter for my goal wording. For more about wording your goal, see this blog. I word my goal in the present tense as though it’s happened and use the date to start the goal wording. Instead of using the words ‘I will’, change it to ‘I am’ and your brain will begin to look for ways to make this possible. I’ll show you in the example below.
SMART goal example
So, let’s take the SMART goal setting method and change the wording of a goal into a more powerful SMART reason that will fire us up to work towards it.
I want to lose 10lbs
It’s 1 June and I feel sexy and energetic after hitting my goal weight of 140lbs.
That’s specific (140lbs), measurable (you’ll know by stepping on the scale whether you’ve achieved that weight), attractive (it embodies how you want to feel when you’ve reached that goal weight), relevant (you want to have more energy and feel better about yourself) and time-specific (you have a date when you will reach your goal).
Before you set your SMART goal, I suggest you read over this blog to discover your why. Your reasoning behind your goal is a huge factor in the action you take when you feel like throwing in the towel again. Once you’ve discovered your ‘why’, you can set your SMART goal around that and you’ll have a powerful target to aim for.
Pop your details in the template below and you’ll be redirected to your FREE SMART goal-setting template.
Over to you
Do you set SMART goals? Do you find them powerful? Let me know in the comments below.
Like the blog? You might also like my book! When I grow up, I want to be a kid – available now on Amazon.