The S.M.A.R.T. acronym stands for:
SPECIFIC: Make sure your goal specifically states what you desire to accomplish. “Become healthier,” is not a specific goal. “Improve my health by adding one new healthy habit each week for fifty-two weeks,” is a specific goal.
MEASURABLE: Make sure your goal can be measured, so that you will know if you have achieved your objective. The above example is measurable, because you can clearly measure whether or not you reach the goal.
ATTAINABLE: Do a soul-search to determine if you have the resources (and energy/attitude) needed to reach this goal during the timeline you set for its completion. If you do not have the resources, make sure to include the process of attaining them within your goal plan.
REALISTIC: Many people take an all-or-nothing approach to goals. A great example is a woman who wants to pursue healthy-lifestyle changes. She sets a goal on January 1: she is going to join a health club, exercise every day, change all her eating habits and give up sweets– STARTING the next day!
We have to remember that part of any goal is forming new habits, which often means replacing and reprogramming old habits. This doesn’t happen overnight. While we might be able to adhere to a schedule like this for a short time, it will be hard to sustain long-term. If you have set up a goal like this, now is the perfect time to revisit it and make a realistic plan.
TIMELY: Make sure to have an end date for your goal. This is what transforms a wish into a goal. Wishes don’t have deadlines–goals do! In addition to an end date, identify key milestones at the 25 percent, 50 percent and 75 percent mark to track your progress.
Start the year with a S.M.A.R.T. goal. Summarize it in one or two clear sentences. Then, decide what practical steps can you take this week to move toward this goal. Journal your answers, making each step specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Then, throughout the week (and all your weeks ahead), do not go out and try–go out and “do.”
I set smart goals and take smart action.