|Posted on January 3, 2017 at 8:00 AM|
The new year is here! Welcome, 2017! Many are excited for you to make your entrance. I have heard and read many people say they are glad to see the back of 2016. It was quite a year, both positively and negatively, depending on your perspective and personal experiences.
A fresh, new year is a great time to start on new goals or make progress on old ones.
The SMART system of goal-setting can be a helpful way to increase your success at goal-meeting. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
Specific: Ask yourself questions such as
Who is doing this? (Presumably, you)
What do I want to accomplish?
Where will this happen?
When will it happen?
How will it happen?
Why is it important? (Benefits, purpose, or reason for accomplishment of said goal)
Some of these questions also address the other elements of SMART, which is okay, and just means you are a little ahead of the game.
Measurable: How will you know when you get there? How much or how many is/are required? Setting target dates or small milestones, in addition to a big finish, can give you boosts of satisfaction along the way and help you stay on track.
Attainable: Is it possible for you to achieve this goal? Is this goal about yourself? It is very difficult, if not impossible, to make someone else responsible for meeting your goal. They don't have nearly the attachment to it or control over it that you do.
Realistic: Is this goal something you are willing and able to work for? Your goal should stretch and motivate you, but not overwhelm you. An unrealistic goal sets you up for failure instead of success, and when you don't achieve what you wanted to, your self image takes a hit, often causing you to feel lower than you did before you started. Take care to accurately assess your commitment to your goal.
Time-bound: What is your time frame for accomplishment of this goal? When do you aim to be finished? "Someday" is unlikely to be a strong enough motivator to help you meet your goals. A deadline helps you narrow your focus and adds a sense of urgency to the mix, meaning that you are more likely to reach your goal!
Some sample goals:
Vague: I will get in shape.
SMART: I will join a gym and work out four days a week to lose 10 pounds by April 1st.
Vague: I will increase my business contacts.
SMART: I will attend two networking events per month, follow up with the people I meet there within one week of the event, and continue to build relationships with them by contacting them once a month.
Vague: I'm going to be a better person.
SMART: I will volunteer at the animal shelter for two Saturdays a month, and speak kindly to the people I meet there refraining from making snarky comments that hurt people's feelings.