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The S.M.A.R.T goal acronym is not new. But thinking about goals in this way can help you set goals that are actually going to work for you. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-oriented.
It’s important to be specific about what it is that you want to work towards. Thinking about what you want to happen, what you want to do can be helpful. For example, saying, “I want to be healthy” isn’t specific. Saying things such as, “I want to eat more fruits and vegetables” is getting there.
It becomes a lot easier to achieve goals when you create benchmarks. Let’s use the eat more fruits and vegetables example. It’s easy to measure, “I’m going to eat a minimum of 3 servings of fruits or vegetables each day.”
Set yourself up for success by really thinking about whether or not your goal is readily achievable. Can you keep your fridge stocked up with enough fruits and vegetables so you can eat them daily? Is your benchmark something you can do, or is it setting the bar too high? Do you need to tweak things a bit?
It’s also important to be honest with yourself. Knowing what your habits have been like in the past, is this goal realistic? For example, if you used to eat fruits and vegetables once or twice a month, perhaps you need to tweak your goal and create some short and long term goals. In the short term, it might be more realistic to say you’ll eat fruit and vegetables a minimum of once a week for the first month. Once that’s been achieved, then you could amp things up. Perhaps it would be more realistic to say you’ll eat fruits and vegetables 2-3 times a week. Be real with yourself and build upon success.
Know when you’re going to start. It’s also important to set some other timelines. When do you want to complete this goal? This week, next week, next month, next year? Will it have a definite completion date or will it be ongoing? Would it be helpful to set short, medium, and long-term timelines for this goal?
Use this acronym to set your goals and see your success rate go way up!
For other blogs on goals, please see Goals and change.