Tonight I am going to be teaching the kids about “SMART” goals. There are many variations for the SMART goals acronym but I plan to use the version I am most familiar with:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Relevant
T = Time-Bound
Goals should identify a specific outcome and should answer the six W’s:
- Who: Who is involved?
- What: What do I plan to accomplish?
- Where: Where will the actions related to the goal take place?
- When: Establish a time frame.
- Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
- Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
Smart goals help to break all these questions up into chunks so you can focus on each aspect of your goal one at a time to ensure you develop a “smart” goal.
Specific is the What, Why, and How of the SMART model.
- WHAT are you going to do? Use action words such as direct, organize, coordinate, lead, develop, plan, build etc.
- WHY is this important to do at this time? What do you want to ultimately accomplish?
- HOW are you going to do it?
EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Get in shape.”But a specific goal would say, “Improve my body composition by 1% every two weeks until I have gone from 21% body fat to 15%body fat, by working out Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings and limiting my calorie intake to 1800 calories per day”
Goals should be specific but straightforward and should emphasize what you want to happen. Specifics will help to focus your efforts and will help you clearly define what steps need to be taken to achieve the goal.
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 that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal.
To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as……How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. In the broadest sense, the whole goal statement is a measure for the project; if the goal is accomplished, then it is a success. However, there are usually several short-term or small measurements that can be built into the goal.
Choose a goal with measurable progress, so you can see the change occur. How will you see when you reach your goal? Be specific! “I want to read 3 chapter books of 100 pages on my own before my birthday” shows the specific target to be measure. “I want to be a good reader” is not as measurable.
Goals should challenge people to do their best, but they need also be achievable
When you identify goals that are 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.
Goals you set which are too far out of your reach, you probably won’t commit to doing. Although you may start with the best of intentions, the knowledge that it’s too much for you means your subconscious will keep reminding you of this fact and will stop you from even giving it your best.
A goal needs to stretch you slightly so you feel you can do it and it will need a real commitment from you. For instance, if you aim to lose 20lbs in one week, we all know that isn’t achievable. But setting a goal to loose 1lb and when you’ve achieved that, aiming to lose a further 1lb, will keep it achievable for you.
The feeling of success which this brings helps you to remain motivated.
Goals need to pertain directly to the performance challenge being managed. The goal needs to be your own, one that you care about, and one that is worth achieving. If someone else is pushing you to complete a goal but you don’t care about that goal then you will likely lack the motivation and self-discipline to perform the actions required to achieve that goal.
Listening to our family, friends, mentors, and authority figures is a great place to solicit ideas for personal change and goals but you have to own your goals if you want to experience success.
A goal should be grounded within a time frame and answer the question “When?”. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10 lbs, when do you want to lose 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.
Set a timeframe for the goal: for next week, in three months, by fifth grade. Putting an end point on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards.
If you don’t set a time, the commitment is too vague. It tends not to happen because you feel you can start at any time. Without a time limit, there’s no urgency to start taking action now.
Tips That Can Help You Set Smart Goals
Tip 1. Attach a date to the goal. State what you intend to accomplish and by when. You may want a few goals for the year, and some for one or two-month intervals. A good list should include some short-term and some long-term goals.
Tip 2. State goals as declarations of intention, not items on a wish list.
Tip 3. Share your goals with someone who cares if you reach them. Sharing your intentions with your best friends, your parents, or your teacher will help encourage you towards success.
Tip 4. If the goal is not achievable in a short amount of time then break it into manageable parts by identifying some of the more specific goals needed to accomplish the long-term objective.
Tip 5. Develop several goals. A list of five to seven items gives you several things to work on over a period of time.
Tip 6. Review and revise your list. Experiment with different ways of stating your goals. Goal setting improves with practice, so play around with it.
Tip 7. Write down your goals and put them where you will notice them. The more often you read your goals, the more likely you are to stay focused on them
Here is the worksheet we used to develop our goals. I plan to capture all of these goals in a master list and then about a month from now review them during a Life Lessons with Dad session and see how everyone is doing: