Establishing S.M.A.R.T. Goals

What is a goal, how do you establish a goal, how do you achieve a goal? Suffice it to say that I would not have accomplished much of my education and personal interests if it wasn’t for me establishing goals.
I guess what really has me thinking about goals is because for so long I have worked so hard to achieve certain goals that now I feel like I need some time for reflection and thinking forward to establish a new goal plan for myself. I’m enjoying the downtime of just relaxing and enjoying my new baby, which is a goal in itself for me. However, seeing that I will be turning 30 soon I know that I will be taking time before my 30th birthday to come up with goals that I would like to achieve in the next year, next 3 years and next 5 years.

Below I will be sharing what a “S.M.A.R.T.” goal is and how to establish one. (The information is adapted from a source, credited below.)

Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Timely
Specific: A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:
*Who: Who is involved?
*What: What do I want to accomplish?
*Where: Identify a location.
*When: Establish a time frame.
*Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
*Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a specific goal would say, “Join a gym and workout 3 days a week.”

Measurable – Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set.
When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement.
To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as……
How much? How many?
How will I know when it is accomplished?

Attainable – When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.
You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.

Realistic- To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress.
A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were something you looked forward to doing.

Timely – A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to ace a test, when do you want to ace it by? “Someday” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by May 1st”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.
Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.
T can also stand for Tangible – A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing.
When your goal is tangible you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus attainable.
Specific material adapted from http://topachievement.com/smart.html

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