The single biggest thing I’ve ever done to improve my life and get closer to what I want is setting regular, SMART goals.
You’ve probably at least heard of SMART goals even if you don’t know what they are. The concept was created by George Doran and here’s what S.M.A.R.T. stands for:
S – Specific: A goal like run a marathon in the next 3 months is way more specific and focused than a goal like run more.
M – Measurable: Again, a goal like run a marathon is easy to measure and you can easily tell when you’ve accomplished it, whereas run more is vague.
A – Attainable: If you’ve never even jogged before and you have a broken leg, then running a marathon in the next 3 months might not be attainable for you (or maybe it is?) so make sure you’re setting goals you can realistically accomplish.
R – Relevant: If you’re more of a weight lifter and you hate to run, then setting a goal to run a marathon probably isn’t relevant to you. It’s never a good idea to set goals that will lead you to a life that you don’t really want.
T – Timely: Run a marathon in the next 3 months is timely; you have a deadline. If you just set a goal like run a marathon eventually then it’s more of bucket list item, not a goal – and you might not ever accomplish it!
So there’s a rough idea of the qualities of a SMART goal. Whenever you’re setting a goal, it’s a good idea to ask yourself if it’s SMART.
Now here are 8 steps to achieving them!
Step 1: Decide EXACTLY what you want. Being specific is key to setting great goals. When you know exactly what it is you want, you have a clearer idea of exactly how to get there and more motivation to work towards it!
Step 2: Write it down. Writing your goals down is important for so many reasons. I actually wrote a post about why exactly it’s so important that you can read right here.
Step 3: Set a deadline. Deadlines motivate us to get stuff done. Have you ever almost ran out of time to finish a work project, homework assignment, or something else? When the deadline was getting close you probably got your butt in gear and got stuff done, right?
Step 4: Make a list of everything you need to do to achieve the goal. A goal without a plan is just a dream! Knowing exactly what you need to do to get where you want to be can make you WAY more likely to achieve your goals. If you don’t know what you need to do to reach the goal, then how are you going to?
Step 5: Turn the list into a plan. After you make the list of all the steps you need to take, make plans to get it all done. Schedule things into your planner, calendar, journal, etc.
You might like: 11 Helpful Strategies to Reach Your Goals
Step 6: Start immediately. Don’t put off your goals or you might not ever get anything done. There’s no perfect time to start anything. Plus, you want to reach them ASAP, right?
Step 7: Do something every single day that moves you toward your goal(s). If you do one small thing every day to move you closer, you’ll be reaching all of your goals before you know it!
Step 8: Reward yourself for accomplishments. I’ve said it many times but I’ll say it again! Rewards are a powerful motivator for getting things done. If you think “I just need to do this one thing and I can get XYZ” then you’ll definitely want to keep going. Here’s a post of 20 healthy and frugal ways to reward yourself!
Here are other helpful posts about goals you might like:
- Setting Yearly Goals (Free Workbook)
- Why You Should Set Monthly Goals + Tips for Achieving Them
- How and Why to Set Goals as a Couple (Free Worksheet)