Have you ever struggled to make progress or lost motivation while pursuing your goals? You need to know how to set SMART goals. In this blog, we will explore the concept of SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Bound) and uncover how they can revolutionise your goal-setting approach.
1. Specific: Paint a Clear Picture of Success
A great place to start is getting more specific. Rather than setting a vague goal of ‘getting fitter’, ask yourself, “What does that look like?” It might be losing weight, how much weight? Or getting stronger, in which muscle group?
Alternatively, maybe you’d like to be more satisfied in work. What does that mean? Is it more money? Or getting a raise? Or changing career altogether?
Focus on the “what,” “why,” and “how.” By articulating what you want to achieve in explicit terms, you can create a roadmap that guides your actions and keeps you on track.
In our goal reviews with clients we go through:
- What is the goal?
- Why? How will this benefit your life?
- How are we going to go about making this dream a reality?
It can be really helpful to have friends (or coaches!) to be a sounding board and help you get specific, so don’t be afraid to invite trusted people in on the conversation.
2. Measurable: Track Progress and Celebrate Milestones!
Stay motivated and assess success by measuring your progress actively. You know that specificity we mentioned? Having a goal of ‘getting fitter’ doesn’t have a clearly measurable outcome. ‘Lose 5kg’ or ‘Be able to do 10 push ups’ does!
It is incredibly helpful, and motivating, to establish measurable goals that allow you to track your advancements. So define specific criteria or metrics, objectively evaluating your progress and celebrating milestones along the way. Don’t let the progress just slide by, you deserve celebration for your hard work! And acknowledging accomplishment fuels your sense of achievement and keeps you moving forward.
3. Attainable: Balancing Ambition and Realism
Maintain motivation and prevent discouragement by setting attainable goals. While ambition is admirable, it must be balanced with realism.
It’s all well and good to say you want to make £50K more next year in your business, but if you only currently take in £5K a year in profit in that side hustle, that’s a big jump, and might not be so attainable. That means when the end of the next year rolls around, you’ll be feeling discouraged because you didn’t hit that lofty goal
Assess your resources, skills, and available time, and set goals that challenge and stretch you while remaining within the realm of possibility.
You can also set short, medium, and longer term goals, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves, thats point 5! Keep reading to get to that gem.
4. Relevance: Aligning Goals with Values and Aspirations
Ensure your goals are meaningful and in line with your values and aspirations. Understand why a specific goal matters to you. This might seem familiar if you’ve read our blog post on defining success – and if you haven’t, check it out here!
We can all be tempted to set goals that we think we should set just because other people are. Or because society puts importance on something. Even goals that we don’t really care about but we feel like we should.
Can we be honest with you for a second? If you don’t care about it, you probably won’t do it. If you don’t care about running a 5K, you aren’t going to have any motivation at 6:30 when the alarm goes off for your run on a Saturday morning.
But if you really like rock climbing, and you know whats holding you back is your upper body strength, you’re going to be motivated to work on that so you can enjoy your hobby even more. And if it gives you an opportunity to bond with your kids, because they like it too, and it means you get more time with them? That is a goal aligned with your values.
By establishing a strong connection between your goals and your core values, you stay motivated and committed throughout the journey – no matter the obstacles.
5. Time-Bound: Adding a Sense of Urgency and Focus
Avoid distant dreams by setting goals with a time limit. This is what we mean by short term, medium term, and long term goals.
In our gym context, we set short term goals for 3 month’s time. It’s long enough to allow for growth, but short enough that it instills a sense of urgency! If you skip a workout… And another workout… And another workout… You won’t get to that goal, at least not in 3 months.
What we’ve found is that even with long term goals (say 1 year, 3 years out) it helps to create additional shorter and medium term goals along the way.
Do you want to 6 books in a year? Well you can break that down! That’s 1 book every 2 months. Find a book you want to start with, see how many pages it is, do some maths and figure out how may pages you need to read a week.
Establishing a timeline or target dates creates a sense of urgency and focus. A timeline provides a framework for action, allowing you to prioritise tasks and manage your time effectively.
As you might expect, implementing SMART goals requires action, these goals are not just going to happen by themselves.
We hope that these strategies for actively incorporating SMART goals into your daily life help you! In a nutshell: Break larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks. Create action plans and seek accountability. Maximise your chances of success through actionable steps.
SMART goals offer a transformative approach to goal setting, enabling us to turn our aspirations into concrete achievements. By embracing specificity, measurability, attainability, relevance, and time-bound objectives, you can chart an incredible course towards success. Whether it’s personal growth, career advancement, fitness, or any other area of life, SMART goals provide the structure and focus needed to make meaningful progress. So, start setting SMART goals today and unlock your true potential to create the life you envision.