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SMART(ER) Goals Make Dreams a Reality

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

Goals are a roadmap to our dreams. When guided by a clear vision and emotional attachment, goals are stepping stones that make our dreams a reality. Goals are tangible – we can almost feel them in our grasp and so, they drive action. But we’re not all great goal setters. Indeed, many of us stumble through life never really certain why we haven’t achieved success – however we define it. In reality, the lack of success is a consequence of a poorly defined vision (or lacking emotional attachment to it) and an absence of concrete, actionable goals. On the other hand, clear goals guide your purpose and the activities, decisions, and obligations that make up your day. The power of goal setting should never be underestimated. So-called SMART(ER) goals connect us to our dreams in a concrete way and allow us to move forward in our personal and professional lives in ways we may never have imagined. So then, what are SMART(ER) goals and how can they guide us on the journey to our dreams?

SMART(ER) is an acronym:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Attainable

  • Relevant

  • Time-bound

  • Exciting

  • Risky

By setting SMART(ER) goals, you take the guess work out of achieving your goals. Take New Years’ resolutions as an example. Many people have a vision of being healthier and set lifestyle goals. But what does that mean? How will you get healthier and is your goal sustainable? What about getting healthier matters to you? When will you achieve it by? Digging deeper into your goal and answering some of these questions will help you determine a clearer path that promotes growth and progress. Let’s take a closer look at each element of SMART(ER) goals.

Specific

The more detail you can provide for your goal, the better. “My goal is to be healthier” is vague. “My goal is to improve my physical fitness by incorporating a gym routine a minimum of three days a week” is more specific. Ultimately, you want to quantify your goal in such a way that it is measurable.

Measurable

Measurable goals allow us to track our progress and keep us accountable to our goals. Once again, we can add more detail to our health goal – “I’m going to go to the gym three days per week for 30 minutes.” This is a goal we can actually measure.

Attainable

Ultimately, you want your goals to be in the realm of your control. Setting goals where you have to rely on outside sources to achieve them can set you up for frustration, discouragement and ultimately giving up. In the situation of the gym routine for example, if you have to rely on someone else to drive you to the gym, you may lose your focus and determination if your ride constantly cancels.

Relevant

Your goal needs to matter to you; you should have a solid reason for pursuing this goal. We tend to be driven by goals that have intrinsic value. In other words, the best goals reflect your core values. If having a beach body isn’t one of your core values, setting a goal to hit the gym every day for 2 hours in an effort to get that beach body, probably isn’t for you. On the other hand, feeling well, having energy, managing stress – these may be reasons that hitting the gym and getting healthy is relevant to you.

Time-bound

SET. A. DATE. When are you going to achieve this goal by? I can’t stress this enough – a goal without a deadline, is only a dream. You need to feel the pressure of the impending deadline to get motivated to act today and not put it off for another day, week or month. The time-bound nature of good goals makes them more measurable so you can experience your success as you approach your finish line.

Exciting

Ideally, your goals will motivate you because the thought of completing them excites you. A goal that gives you butterflies is the right goal for you.

Risky

Finally, goals should feel a little risky. Certainly, you don’t want to feel paralyzed by your goals but a little uncertainty can be a good thing because when you achieve a goal that feels a little scary, you begin to realize what’s truly possible for you.

Now that you know a little more about SMART(ER) you’re ready to take the first step to making your dreams a reality. And with that in mind, you should also know that each goal achieved is one more step toward your dreams.


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