In our past few blogs we’ve talked about health as a journey, taking small steps to improve your health, and developing a growth mindset. Our desire is to live purposefully and approach each day with intention. We want the same for you. Today we’re going to help you define your goals and create a detailed plan for achieving them.
One helpful strategy for developing and reaching your goals is to make them SMART.
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Relevant
T – Time-bound
Specific – get as detailed as possible when setting your goals. You need to clearly understand what you’re working towards.
Measurable – your goal should be something you can quantify. This will allow you to track your progress and know whether or not you have reached it.
Achievable – set a goal that you have the means to achieve. It will still require work, but it should also be realistic. If you don’t currently have the means to achieve a lofty goal, consider working towards smaller goals that will give you the ability to reach the bigger goal down the road.
Relevant – your goal should be applicable to your life and consistent with your values. Set goals based on what matters to you, not others.
Time-bound – give yourself a time frame and a deadline for reaching your goal.
Create a plan
We’ve put together an exercise that you can use to define your goals and create a plan for reaching them.
Grab a piece of paper or a notebook and write down your answers to these questions.
- What areas of your life you would like to improve? Look through your list and choose one that you’ll create a goal for. Circle it.
- Looking at the item you circled, what exactly would you like to achieve?
- Also consider:
- How will you reach it?
- Where and when will you work on it?
- Will you be working with someone?
- What limitations might you need to work through?
- How will you know when you’ve reached it?
Putting it all together
Now see if you can put these ideas together into a sentence or two. This will be your goal.
If you’re having trouble formulating a goal, fill in the blanks with this sentence:
“I will achieve/improve _____________ by doing _____________.”
For example, let’s say my goal was to improve my physical fitness by exercising more. My SMART goal might be written out like this:
“I will improve my physical fitness by running three days per week for 10 weeks.”
As you can see, my goal states an action, frequency, and a time frame. This makes it specific, measurable, and time-bound. I’ve chosen this goal because I value physical fitness and enjoy running, making this relevant to my life. I also know that given my weekly schedule I will have the means to achieve the frequency of running three times per week.
If you recall our last blog post about Growth Mindset, working towards goals is about the product and the process. View setbacks as opportunities to grow and learn.
Don’t abandon your efforts. Pick up and keep going or come up with a revised plan if you need.
Keep working with perseverance and you can achieve your goals!