SMART Goals Maximize Goal Setting Success

Achieve goal setting success with SMART goals.

Every year, millions of people set goals as they make their New Years resolutions with the best of intentions...only to make the same resolutions the following year.

SMART goals is a acronym for the essential components of goal setting success.

Specific
Measurable
Action Steps
Realistic
Timely

Specific - You maximize your chances of goal setting success if you set specific goals that focus your attention and energy on what you need to do to achieve your goal. For example, a vague goal such as "I want to lose weight and become fitter" could be made to be more specific, such as "I will lose 6 pounds and run 3 times a week for 20 minutes each time." These personal goal setting activities can help you to brainstorm the different types of goals you want to achieve.

Measurable - If you can't measure your goal how will you know that you have reached it? A goal that you can measure establishes concrete criteria that allows you to measure your progress. Having measurable goals is important as it gives you benchmarks or milestones, which when reach, give you the satisfaction of achievement. This can be a great boost to your confidence and spurs you onto greater effort. For example, rather than setting goals such as "I will exercise today", set more measurable goals such as "I will walk 5 miles today".

Action steps - Having clear action steps to achieve your goal is critical to goal setting success. You should be asking yourself the following questions:
"How am I going to reach my goal?",
"What steps do I need to take and what resources do I need to get, to achieve my goal?"

For example, suppose you want to lose 5 pounds in six months. Well this is a good Specific and Measurable goal, but how are you going to achieve it. An action plan in which you take the steps of cutting your mid morning snack and walking 2 miles at lunch time is a good start.

Realistic - Setting realistic goals does not mean the goals are easy, but you do need to stretch yourself so that you focus to achieve your goal.  For example, if you are a bit of a chocoholic, and you know that you can't do without it, setting a goal to not eat chocolate for the rest of your life is clearly unrealistic. However, a more realistic goal is to reduce the amount of chocolate you eat to one bar a week.

Time-based - When you set a deadline to achieve your goal you create a sense of urgency to take action today! Whether your time frame is today, tomorrow or in 5 years time, setting a time to achieve makes your smart goals a priority.

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