Skills for Life: Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals for Success

At the beginning of each year, many of us make resolutions – promises to ourselves to let go of bad habits and achieve certain goals in the New Year. However, many of us never achieve these goals. In fact, by now many of us have given up trying.

Experts say the problem is that many of us do not set S.M.A.R.T. goals. As part of the RunningWorks Life Skill Curriculum, team members have spent the first few weeks of 2018 learning how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals.

S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Relevant

T – Time Bound

Setting a S.M.A.R.T. goal begins with a clear concise objective. Be specific. Otherwise, you will be unable to focus your efforts.

When drafting your goal, try to answer the five W’s. What do I want to accomplish? Why is this goal important? Who is involved? Where is it located? Which resources are available?

It is also important to have measurable goals so that you can stay motivated and track your progress. How else will you know when you actually reach your goal? Measurable goals answer questions such as how much and how many.

A S.M.A.R.T. goal is also one that is achievable or attainable. Sure, you want to set a goal that challenges you, but remember to be realistic. When setting a goal, ask yourself how you plan to accomplish it. Also, be ware of setting goals that someone else has power over. Try to set goals that hold you responsible for the outcome.

Make sure your goal is relevant. Does it seem worthwhile? Is this the right time? Does it match other efforts or needs? Are you the right person to reach this goal? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” that’s a good indicator that the goal is indeed relevant.

Perhaps one of the most critical attributes of a S.M.A.R.T. goal is one that is time bound. This means you set a target to accomplish the goal within a given time period. Anyone can set a goal, but if it lacks realistic timing, chances are you’re not going to succeed.

Giving yourself a deadline also helps you prioritize your efforts and creates a sense of urgency. What can you do today? This week? What can you accomplish in a month? A year?

Remember to always approach your S.M.A.R.T. goals with a positive attitude. After all, this is something you want to achieve.

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