When it comes to setting goals, it’s hard to know where to start. Depending on how you go about this process, you could land on the road to success or become subject to repeated setbacks and failure.
One way to set yourself up for success is by choosing a goal that abides by the SMART framework; this process ensures that the goals you set meet the following five criteria:
Specific - the goal itself should be narrow so that you can stay focused on what you’re trying to achieve.
Measurable - there must be some way to track progress towards achieving your goal, and determine whether or not you have met it.
Attainable - goals should be challenging, but also realistic. You should be able to achieve them if you put in the effort!
Relevant - every goal should have some personal meaning attached to it, and be something that you want to achieve.
Time-bound - there should be an end-date or time limit by which your goal must be achieved.
Let’s look at an example; say you want to “be healthier” going into the next year. This goal is very broad, so you first must narrow it down in order to meet the criteria of being “specific.”
Okay, so you want to be a runner. How can you quantify that? You can make this goal “measurable” in several ways, from time spent running, to the distance you’ve gone, to how often you lace up your running shoes.
Let’s say you set the goal of running a 5k. This is certainly “attainable,” even if you’ve never run before. And as exercise will make you healthier, you can also consider it to be “relevant” within the bigger picture of your life.
The last criteria that must be met is making this goal “time-bound”. To keep it attainable, you will need some time to train, so let’s say 6 months. Your new (and improved) goals looks like this:
In order to be healthier, I will run a 5k within the next 6 months.
From here, you can create a plan to start training and implementing running as a healthy habit.
Following the SMART framework allows you to set effective goals that optimize your chances of success. What goal are you currently working towards? Let us know in the comments on this post!