Setting SMART Goals seems like a never-ending cycle:
The new year approaches, you generate this tremendous drive to set your intentions, and you start the new year with gratifying consistency, just for that balance and sense of empowerment to be disrupted shortly after.
Are you looking to turn your life around? Has it been challenging to stay true to your words and honor your mission?
If so, you can start using SMART goals to amplify your ability to manifest the life you’ve been working towards for so long.
In this post, we’ll define SMART goals, break down the acronym, and discuss how you can effectively use SMART goals to create a better sense of balance in your life.
What are SMART Goals?
According to Smartsheet, ‘There’s a SMART Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives’ was an article written in 1981 by George T. Doran, a consultant and former director of corporate planning for Washington Water Power Company.
SMART goals template provides an efficient method for developing guidelines that would help increase the likelihood that a goal will be achieved.
SMART acronym stand for?
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Sensitive.
When you’re setting specific goals, you want to consider the six “W”s — who, what, where, when, which, and why — so that you can easily recognize the components that will allow you to accomplish each task.
When you hit these checkpoints, you’ll be able to say with certainty that you’ve succeeded in your mission.
Who: Who’s included?
What: What do you hope to achieve?
Where: Where will you complete this objective?
When: What timeframe do you have in mind?
Which: Which conditions and limitations can stand in your way?
Why: What is your motivation?
You can tell when you’re moving in the right direction and when you’re not with the aid of measurable goals.
Measurable goals are based on detailed timeframes, numbers, or other units — pretty much anything that helps you track and analyze your progress.
Questions you should ask yourself include:
When you assess where you are on your journey currently, it’s suggested that you set goals that present an uplifting challenge without being unrealistic. Like they say, you want to “shoot for the stars, so if you fall you land on a cloud.”
What is it that you really want out of life? What achievements would align with your values, interests, or the quality of life you desire?
When you’re setting goals, we suggest you focus on objectives that will help you embrace your authentic self.
Whichever goal you set, aim to fulfill this goal by a particular date. Deadlines enable you to work backward as you examine the step-by-step procedure required to complete this task before the target date.
How To Effectively Utilize SMART Goals?
There’s a 10-step process you can use to strengthen your goal-setting activity. We’ll discuss these strategies below.
- Emphasize the Seven Key Areas of Your Life
There are distinct lifestyle categories in every individual’s life and if you take some or all of these aspects into account, you can positively impact your potential to create the balance you crave.
These categories are:
- Personal Development
This “life list” is meant to help you approach your efforts to lead a more holistic lifestyle in a logical way. At this stage, you want to challenge yourself by using your imagination without limitation as you consider the following questions:
When you reach old age, what are the things you would regret not being able to do?
What accomplishments would you be most proud of?
Which connections would you value the most?
What encounters would give your existence purpose?
How would your actions and efforts make a difference in the lives of other individuals?
Reverse-engineer the rest of your life by starting at the end.
2. Create a Vision Board
Clarifying the goals that are attached to the multiple facets of your life highlights your values.
The next step is to plant the seeds in your sub-conscience that will help you keep your objectives in mind because this will affect how you behave.
Will you adopt habits that align with your morals and goals? Or will you self-sabotage by contradicting yourself?
Since they serve as a visual reminder of your goals and help to direct your thoughts and activities, vision boards are powerful tools that help bring your deepest desires to fruition.
Think of a vision board as an inspiring piece of art. You want to intentionally add specific pictures and motivational quotes.
Tip: Whether you create the vision board using physical elements or you do it digitally, place the finished product on your wall, or download it to your smart devices so you can constantly refer to it.
3. Restructure Your Goals Using the SMART Format
You may use the SMART goals worksheet from Develop Good Habits to fine-tune your goals.
Your objectives are ingrained further into your subconscious mind when it is written down. While it might not be as effective, typing your goals can have a similar impact.
Tip: You can also add your goals to your wall, bulletin board, or dry-erase board.
4. Invest in a Binder or Planner – Optional
A binder isn’t completely necessary for the goal-setting process. But if you’re someone who doesn’t like to rely too much on technology, using a binder can assist you if you use it to create different sections based on the various areas of your life, you schedule tasks aligned with the goals you set for each segment, and track your progress.
5. Separate Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
The time frame in which you set your goals is all up to you. You have the option to take things one month at a time, a few months at a time, or plan ahead with a one-year, two-year, or even a five-year plan.
Professionals suggest you set your goals the way businesses do — quarterly and yearly. You’ll have the “bird’s eye view” necessary to clearly indicate what you’re setting out to do, how you’re going to do it, and keep room for adjustments. Every quarterly goal is a bridge that connects to the yearly objectives.
Tip: Focus on one main goal for each lifestyle category each quarter so that you don’t overwhelm yourself.
After setting your quarterly goals, you should develop an action plan that details how you’ll achieve your intended results.
6. Brainstorm by Using a Mind Map
It’s not easy for everyone to sit and come up with a step-by-step course of action that’s correlated with a certain goal. If this sounds like you, then mind mapping might be best for you.
A mind map is a graphic that shows the connections between different parts that are related to a main idea while visually organizing this information using a pyramid-like structure. It usually revolves around a single idea that is shown as an image or word, which is then surrounded by images or texts that are associated with the focal point.
Both hemispheres of the brain are activated by mind maps. This is what makes them an effective tool for organizing, planning, and presenting your vision visually.
Mind mapping apps are available on many smart devices. One of the main tools the general public is using is Mind Meister.
7. Learn Any Skill Necessary
Look at each goal on your list and determine which goals you may be anxious to work towards due to a lack of knowledge or expertise. Identify the skills related to the goal, find resources you can use to learn these skills, and intentionally set aside time to get educated.
There are so many free or low-cost educational platforms at our fingertips that it’s almost insane to not take advantage of them. Some of these platforms include Coursera, Udemy, Gumroad, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
8. Turn Your Goals into Habits
What typically stops people from achieving their goals is the daily process of getting things done that coincide with the mission they’re on. Things can get repetitive and some people get bored with that. In these moments you should remember your WHY — Why are you doing this in the first place?
A few tools that may help you stay productive are daily agendas, weekly agendas, checklists, and routines. Completing small tasks and checking them off your list is a psychological way to stimulate pleasant emotions that positively reinforce the rewarding habits you’re forming, while simultaneously tracking your progress.
9. Align Yourself with as Accountability Partner or Mastermind Group
If you have a genuine sense of purpose and you share that sentiment with like-minded individuals, you’re more likely to take persistent action.
Engaging with an accountability partner or mastermind group provides an opportunity to chat about your goals on a daily, weekly, or biweekly basis. You’re able to be completely transparent about your failures and successes, and these people can provide feedback or resources that give you a better sense of direction or empower you to do better.
Ensure that the people you’re engaging with have an optimistic outlook on life, have a go-getter mentality, and possess a willpower that’s contagious. This can be individuals who are friends, family members, coworkers, or people you meet online.
10. Review Your Progress Every Three Months
Your three-month evaluations function as quarterly reports for your long-term SMART goals.
First, we suggest you measure your improvement based on your long-term results. Then, examine how your day-to-day behavior aligns with your expectations. Then, conclude your assessment by laying out an action plan for the following three months.
Use these questions to guide your analysis:
Have I succeeded in achieving my goals?
What were the effective and ineffective strategies?
Did I give my goals all of my attention and effort? If not, why?
Have I seen results worthy of my efforts?
Why should I keep concentrating on this objective over the next three months?
What objectives should I change or remove?
What new objectives should I implement?
Is there something I haven’t tried yet?
Use these steps to conquer 2023 and create the quality life you deserve.
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