A SMART goal is one designed to succeed by being Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. These parameters do not limit what you can achieve, but instead help you plan what it will take to accomplish the goal set.
Example: that old resolution favorite to lose 20 pounds this year. Left just as that statement it’s unlikely to come to fruition; however if you break it out to be a SMART goal than your rate of success improves exponentially.
**Disclaimer the below example is in no way meant as health or weight loss advice, and should only be used as an example of how to plan for obtainable goals. No one involved with The Collaborative LLC claims to be a health or weight loss professional.
Specific: To lose 20 pounds through healthy diet, regular exercise (3-4 one hour sessions per week), and drinking 80 oz. of water per day.
Measurable: Current weight may be 170 pounds, and a goal weight is now 150 pounds. Weigh in every Monday evening and track progress on a spreadsheet to use the graph as encouragement.
Attainable: Set a goal deadline, April 1, 2015 (This date allows a little room in the goal for small setbacks or weight loss plateaus because every body is different!)
Realistic: Put workouts on the calendar as important appointments and do not allow them to be cancelled, prepay for workout classes that you enjoy the most so you are more motivated to attend. Set aside a specific night each week to plan meals and grocery shop for healthy foods.
Time-bound: Track your goals weekly to stay on track for the April 1, 2015 deadline.
Even briefly detailed as above losing 20 pounds sounds much more reasonable than a flimsy one line resolution to “lose 20 pounds.” Now how can you apply this to your career? Do you have a promotion in mind? Talk to your director at work to help detail what you need to accomplish to be promoted this year, then use that information to make a SMART goal plan.
Do you want to attend graduate school in the Fall? Make a goal plan for each landmark you must fulfill to complete your applications, such as collect recommendation letters, study and take the GRE, plan time for application submissions working back from their deadlines.
2015 will easily be one of your most successful years yet if you get SMART about your goal setting! Happy New Year!