Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Time to Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals!

It's that time of the year again- the new one is almost here.  Have you taken some time for careful, even prayerful thought about what you want to get done and how you want to grow as a human being?  This SMART goal system is one I've used for decades:

The S.M.A.R.T. goals system is a very useful method for setting goals. As an overview, the "S" stands for Specific, the "M" stands for Measurable, the "A" stands for Attainable, the "R" stands for Realistic, and the "T" stands for Timely. Below are the steps explained in detail.

"S" - Your goals have to be SPECIFIC. If you want to achieve any type of goal, it has to be something that is not a generality or a poorly-thought-through idea, but something that you can put definite parameters around. For instance, it's no good to say that your goal is "to be a better husband", "to lose weight", or other generic ideas. How much weight do you want to lose? When would you like to arrive at this weight-loss goal? Those are the specifics necessary to really get your mind thinking in the right direction. When writing down your goals, make them as specific as possible. If your goal is to one day have a dream home, what would it look like? How many bedrooms would it have? Would it have a two, three, or four-car garage? Clarity is essential when writing down your goals.

"M" - Your goals have to be MEASURABLE. As it has often been said, "You can't manage what you can't measure". You have to have definite points of progress mapped out so that you can have some measure of how close to (or far away from) your goals you are. Included in the "Measurable" step is establishing milestones. For instance, if your income goal is to be making six figures, have you made it even halfway there yet? If your goal is to lose 50 pounds
, have you lost 10 pounds yet? You have to have certain "checkpoints" established so that you can have a measure of your progress.

"A" - Your goals have to be ATTAINABLE. It's nice to have a goal such as "I want to bring peace to the world", but trust me, it may not happen in this lifetime. Idealistic goals are very difficult to attain. Add a healthy dose of concrete reality to your goals.

"R" - Your goals must be REALISTIC. You can set a goal to become a billionaire in one week, but don't be surprised if it doesn't happen. Now I'm a big advocate for believing that "all things are possible" (Mark 9:23), but that doesn't mean that all things are likely to happen. Don't frustrate yourself and shoot yourself in the foot by being too unrealistic with your goals. Thoroughly examine the type of process you will have to go through to realistically arrive at your goal, and commit to that process."

"T" - Your goals must be TIMELY. In other words, you must establish a time frame for achieving your goals. Don't keep your goals in an "abstract" state by not setting definite points in time for them to be achieved. Remember: "A goal is a dream with a deadline".

I learned this goal system in the U.S. Army, so I don't give this website credit for "Inventing" it, but it's where I got the above text:

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