Goal- An aimed or desired result; An object of a person’s ambition. Just think about that definition for a minute. It seems very simple. You pick something that you desire to finish or achieve and you get something of value out of that achievement. It’s in our nature to always want to improve and do better, but sometimes that ‘want’, that drive, can get you into a worse situation than when you started.
Often it is very easy to set your expectations too high for what you truly want to accomplish. In doing so, it’s always inevitable that you will fail. Ultimately you need to be fair to yourself and what you can handle. Goals are usually on a whim. You wake up one morning and think man it would be cool to lose weight, or it would be the best thing ever to get a new house. When your parents told you that you could accomplish anything you wanted, they weren’t just saying it out of love. Although, it may have also been there, they were saying it to drive you and make you want to succeed in whatever you wanted to set your sights on. Relationships, advancing in work, killing it on that stair stepper, whatever your goal is you need to make sure you go about getting to it realistically. This means following the five letters of the word smart.
It’s great wanting to lose weight, or start going to the gym more often as goals. But you really need to think of a specified goal to get your mind set on steps to reach it better. Think of who you want involved to help you reach your goal, think of what it is exactly you want to accomplish and when it is you want to accomplish it. What requirements or constraints are you going to have to reach this goal? What are the reasons, purpose and benefits?
Example: Go to the park and run 2 times a day, 3 days out of the week.
Now that you have a specified goal, the next step is to make it measurable. You need to track the progress you make. Make sure to ask yourself how you will know when it is accomplished. If you can’t measure whether or not you have reached your goal, it may not be specific enough. How many more weeks do you have until your goal is reached?
Example: You can run one time a day, two days out of the week and your goal is to run two times a day, three days out of the week. You can measure that you are making progress based on the number of days you can run two times a day.
Is your goal attainable? Or is it unrealistically set too high for even the smartest, strongest, most successful person there is? You can attain any goal you set your mind to as long as you follow the steps that were set earlier and the steps you will learn later in this post. Make sure you have the attitude, time and financial capability to continue on to your goal. No cutting corners.
Example: Say you are gaining muscle mass and your goal is to gain 10 lbs of muscle in two months. You have to think of your schedule, your current muscle mass and finances, along with your attitude, to see if this is an attainable goal.
You have to make sure you are willing and able to work towards your goal. Be realistic with yourself and think about everything involved with getting your goal. This kind of goes hand in hand with attaining your goal. Keep in perspective how high your standards are for reaching this goal. Is it too much and will you really be happier or more accomplished than when you started before? Or will you still feel like you didn’t really reach your ultimate goal? All that matters is if you are happy doing what you need to do. You have to ask yourself if it’s really worth it.
Example: You want to take a vacation to Australia within the next two months and you needed to save over $2000.00. You already have a lot of stuff on your plate at work and you just bought a new car. Your budget is basically maxed out, you literally have no time to get anything new done. You could force yourself to make time to plan a trip, but you will be so stressed about your finances during the trip that you won’t enjoy it.
With everything in life comes time. Especially when it comes to setting goals. A part of being smart is to plan how long it will take for you to stick with your goal and how long you want to give yourself before you need to reach it. This also goes hand in hand with all of the steps above, is your goal specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic enough to be able to get it done in the time frame you set for yourself? Giving yourself a time frame will motivate you to reach your goal. This gives you a sense of accountability. It’s your responsibility to yourself to get what you need to do, done.
Example: You want to lose 15 lbs for a 5k run in June. It’s February now, so you have given yourself about 4 months to get ready. Plenty of time to prepare, switch up your meal plans and stick to your time frame that was set. By the first of June you need to have reached your goal.