We’re at that point in the year where lots of us are beginning to think seriously about how to set goals and achieve them.
Whether you set your 2019 goals while riding a high on the thoughts of new beginnings, or protested against them because you knew you wouldn’t keep to them, we all know that goals can be useful.
Now is the perfect time to start thinking about setting smart goals that we can actually work towards. I know I set blogging goals at the start of January, but it’s only now that I start really thinking about my personal goals.
It was actually the thought of writing down my personal goals that got me thinking about smart goals, a method I discovered a few years ago. I knew I wasn’t the only one who would find this method useful, so I thought I’d take today to share what I’ve learnt with you.
What are goals, and why do we make them?
The Smart Goal Method
If you search for how to set goals and achieve them, you’ll probably find a million different methods that have varying levels of effectiveness. It’s important to remember that what works for one person might be completely pointless for someone else, after all.
If I’m being honest, I was very sceptical about setting smart goals when I first heard of them. This probably has something to do with the fact that I went over this method several times when I was in college, but let’s not dwell on that.
Despite my initial reluctance to engage with this method, however, I am now completely in love with the idea. My goals have become so much more achievable since I put the effort into thinking about how I was going to achieve my goals when I first made them.
What Are Smart Goals?
The most important thing you need to know about the smart goals method is that it is completely based on an anagram. It takes the word smart, and uses each letter to explain how you must analyse your goals to make sure they are achievable.
You might think setting smart goals sounds extremely complicated, but it’s not that difficult. In fact, you might realise that you’ve already been implementing parts of this method without realising it!
The beauty of this method is that, with it being an anagram, it’s quite easy to remember. This means you will be able to use the method again in the future!
Let’s look in more detail about what each of the five words within this method mean, and how you can implement them.
The key to making achievable goals is to know exactly what you want to achieve, which is where the specifics come in. You want to make sure that someone who may not know you very well could understand your goal if you showed it to them.
Let’s take one of the goals from my blogging goals post that isn’t specific. I said that I wanted to create a proper marketing strategy for my blog this year.
I could make this more specific by saying, “I want to gain a better understanding of marketing for bloggers so that I can create a marketing strategy that will help me grow my blog”.
By revising the goal I made earlier, I have now answered the following questions:
- What exactly do I want to accomplish?
- Why is my goal important?
- What resources do I need to use to achieve this goal?
Why don’t you take a look at your current goals for 2019 and see if you can use the method above to change one or your goals into a smart goal, too?
Another thing you need to think about when making achievable goals is how you are going to measure when you have successfully met your goal. To put it simply, words like ‘more’ won’t work when setting smart goals.
By doing this, there is no confusion when it comes to completing your goal, and working out whether you’re achieved it or not.
One way that you can do this is by utilising amounts. It might seem scary to dedicate yourself to doing a certain amount of something, but it doesn’t have to be.
For example, this year I’ve said I want to write one autism-related Ebook. Ideally, I would like to write more before the end of this year, but I can always amend this goal when I achieve it originally.
Starting small is another great way of making sure that you’re creating achievable goals, and not ones that you’ll look back on in six months and realise you had no hope of achieving in the first place.
There’s a little bit of a dispute over what the A in smart goals actually means. I was always taught it meant attainable, but other sources also use ‘agreed upon’ and ‘achievable’. To put it simply, this part of setting smart goals is all about working out how important your goal is to you, and what you can do to make it achievable.
To succeed with this part of the method, you need to analyse whether you currently have the skills to fulfil the goal. If you don’t, you should put in place plans of how you’re going to gain said skills so that your smart goal remains achievable.
This stage of setting smart goals can help you to see if you need to adapt your goal, or change the length of time you’ve given yourself to achieve it to make it more attainable.
When it comes to learning how to set goals and achieve them, making sure that they are realistic is one of the most important things to focus on. There’s no point in setting a goal to save a million pounds if you’re only earning thirty grand a year, for example.
Instead, why not turn that goal into a smart goal by telling yourself you’ll save three grand by the end of the year, or fifteen grand in 5 years? This may still require some cutting back, but it’s far more realistic than the previous goal.
The point in this step is to make sure that your goal is achievable, sure, but it also helps with motivation. You are going to feel so much more motivated to achieve your goal if you can see things starting to fall into place, after all.
In this stage of setting smart goals, you’ll also want to think about whether it’s realistic in terms of how much effort you’re willing to put into your goal.
If you’ve never exercised in your life, is it really a realistic to set yourself a New Years Resolution of exercising five days a week?
Like I mentioned earlier, to make achievable and realistic goals, you need to start smaller. Once you have the skills to achieve those, you can then create bigger goals.
The final step in turning an ordinary goal into a smart goal is to make sure that it is timed. This is pretty easy if you’re making yearly goals like New Years Resolutions, but it’s easy to forget them if you aren’t.
A common thing to do when creating goals is to say, “I hope I’ll do [insert goal here] someday”. You’d be surprised by the amount of people who forget to put a time limit on it.
The biggest reason to do this when setting smart goals is so that you have an end to your goal. Goals are achievable dreams, after all, and therefore shouldn’t be something that goes on forever.
Not putting a time limit on your goal can also make it difficult to measure, and make plans for exactly how you’re going to achieve your goal.
It also makes you less likely to take action now, because open-ended goals give you the ability to put something off. It’s why, when we say we’ll “do something tomorrow”, we very rarely get around to actually doing it.
Do you have any goals for 2019? Has this post inspired you to make them more achievable? If you have any other tips for making achievable goals, why not leave them in the comments below?
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