How to Set a Goal and Accomplish It

how to set goals, what are SMART goals?

How to Set a Goal and Accomplish It

Everywhere we go, we are infiltrated by goals. In school: students have to meet curriculum requirements and pass tests. At sports practices: athletes have to beat certain times, improve certain skills, or beat other teams. At work: employees have to meet certain objectives and deadlines. The list goes on. With all of the goals we’re expected to accomplish, many of us may feel worn down an unmotivated to impose more goals on ourselves. However, goals are super important when it comes to making progress and achieving the things we strive for. Keep reading to learn about goals and what you can do to accomplish your goals!

What is a goal?

When we talk about goals, it is important for us to all be on the same page of understanding what a goal actually is. A goal is something that we make progress toward. Goals vary a ton based on what we’re trying to accomplish, how much time it will take, and how big or small of a goal it is. However, when we make goals, it is best to follow SMART goal protocol.

What are SMART goals?

SMART goals are an acronym, which guide what we should look for when making a goal:

S - Specific

  • The more specific a goal is, the more able we are to work on it and progress toward its completion.

  • Example: The goal “get in shape” is not specific at all. What does it mean to get in shape? How do you when are in shape? A more specific goal may be “to lose weight”. This is something that is more specific and gives room to expand upon.

M - Measurable

  • The second criteria for a goal is that it has to be measurable. If we can’t measure our progress, how can we tell if we’ve achieved anything? When creating a goal, figure out how you can measure its progress.

  • Example: For our goal “to lose weight”, we can make this measurable by adding “lose ten pounds”. By adding a set number of pounds we want to lose, we can track our progress toward our goal by weighing ourselves.

A - Achievable

  • The next criteria is that goals have to be achievable. When you’re creating a goal, check and see whether this goal is something that is achievable at all and whether it is something that you can realistically achieve right now. If your goal is huge, break it down a little. Start small. Several smaller goals are typically much more realistic to achieve than one giant goal.

  • Example: For our goal, losing ten pounds is typically a realistic amount. Losing 100 pounds is a lot bigger of a feat. Losing 100 pounds is an example of a great end goal for some of us. However, break that goal down into more achievable amounts--like ten pounds at a time. Having to lose 100 pounds may feel impossible, but losing 10 pounds 10 times is a bit more manageable.

R - Relevant

  • In order to achieve what we want, our goals have to be relevant. When we’re making a goal, sometimes it can be easy to lose sight of what we’re hoping to accomplish in the first place because we get lost in our goal.

  • Example: Let’s look back on our first goal: “to lose weight”. If losing weight is our plan, having the goal of losing ten pounds is very relevant. However, if our primary goal was to improve our health and fitness losing ten pounds may not be the most relevant goal for some of us, depending on what activity we are doing and what our body composition is like at the start. Our goal of losing 10 pounds would be completely irrelevant if our intention is to gain weight, or do something completely different, like improve our math test grades. The takeaway--make sure your specific goal is in line with what you’re hoping to achieve.

T - Time-specific

  • The last criteria for a goal is that it must be time-specific, meaning we plan to achieve it within a set time. Having a deadline for our goals helps to keep ourselves accountable and to stay on track with progress.

  • Example: The goal: “to lose 10 pounds” needs a deadline. Without it, how can we ever achieve the goal? Do we achieve our goal if we lose ten pounds in ten years, what about thirty years? When adding a deadline, also keep in mind how achievable it is. Losing 10 pounds in a week? Not so achievable? Losing 10 pounds in 10 weeks? Much more achievable!

How to Accomplish Your Goals

As you can see, goals help us to stay focused on what we achieve. When we follow SMART goal criteria, we are able to improve our chances of achieving the goal, and we can continue achieving from there. SMART goal criteria can be applied to any goal, whether it be personal, professional, physical, mental, financial, or whatever other goals you may have. Look over your current goals and see which of the SMART goal criteria you are fulfilling and which you can improve upon. Make those changes as needed as see how you progress.

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