How to Make Your Goals SMARTER
Updated: Apr 14
We've all heard of SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Bound is a mantra that many of us hear when setting our objectives in the work place.
However there is something missing in this formula that severely impacts the likelihood of us completing the goals that we set for ourselves.
This "something missing" can be found in the following two questions:
1) What is putting the fire in your belly to make you want to do this?
2) How do you know that this goal, is the right goal for you right now?
Firstly, the SMART formula gives no space for motivation. Why set a goal if you don't know why you've set it in the first place?
So you want to get fit and healthy this year, that's awesome. Why do you want to do that? What's going to give you the mental fuel to get yourself to the gym when its easier to turn on Netflix. What's reason you're going to repeat to yourself when you're walking past the aisles of tasty treats in the Supermarket or when someone offers you a doughnut in the office?
If your why is not front and centre in your mind when you're working towards a goal, it will become all too easy to let the goal fade. Even more than that, if your why doesn't excite you, doesn't fill you with that "I must start this right now" kind of energy, maybe you've not found the right why yet.
If someone said to me "I'm going to lose 3 stone by the end of this year". In all honesty, we've heard these declarations so often, that it would be hard to believe them. Whereas if someone else said to me "I am going to lose 3 stone by the end of this year because I'm fed up of my health holding me back and I refuse to let it any more" I'd be like WOAH, that person is ready for action. Without the right motivation, it is very unlikely we will have the follow through to achieve our aims.
So add a little excitement - E - to your SMART goals. What makes this goal exciting to you?
Secondly, with the best intentions, you could be setting yourself a goal that's completely out of whack with the wider context of your life or career right now. Let's say you've decided to learn a new language. That seems like a great idea, something you've always wanted to do. However you've got no plans to visit the country of the language you're learning, no opportunities to practice with anyone and actually you're really unhappy at work right now and this goal would actually simply be acting as a distraction from that bigger issue.
When we take these other factors into consideration, is it the right goal right now?
Setting goals in insolation of your current circumstances, feelings and upcoming plans is setting yourself up for failure before you've even begun. Without first zooming out to ensure the goals we're setting ourselves are the right goals, we risk moving ourselves further away from true progress towards fulfilment and happiness.
So the trick here is to ensure that the goals we are setting ourselves are relevant to the wider context of our lives. Of course things change and we need to be adaptable but taking the time to consider our current circumstances and our long term vision of success will ensure the goals we are setting for ourselves are moving us closer to our optimum life and career.
So in our earlier example of wanting to get fit and healthy we might add the relevance of this goals to our longer term like this - "I am going to lose 3 stone by the end of this year because I'm fed up of my health holding me back and I refuse to let it any more. This will enable to to live a long life in a body I am proud of and that can do amazing things."
Sounds good, right? It adds power and meaning to our goals.
So, add a little relevance - R - to your SMARTE goals. How is this goal relevant to your overall vision of success and happiness?
Incorporating excitement and relevance into your goal setting will help you on the way to having a more productive, purpose driven year ahead. With SMARTER goals you'll know you are channeling your energy into the right areas and why those areas are important to you, keeping you on your journey to success.
Good luck with your goals planning and here's to this year being your best year yet!