SMART Goals – Start Your New Year Off Right
We must constantly review the past, determine our present status, and set goals for the future. Without this process there is little chance for reaching one’s objectives. – O. Leslie Stone
What does being prepared for life’s challenges have to do with SMART Goals? Everything! We are such firm believers in preparing for the future that we are spending a few days talking about the importance of goals and how to set them. Preparing for the future is not just about emergency preparedness, there are all kinds of things that a family has to prepare for – big and small – and you are more likely to get there, with less stress, if you have a plan.
So… Do you make resolutions or set goals? Yesterday’s post issued you a New Year’s challenge: to take some time over the next few weeks and DECIDE what you’re committed to achieving – What do you want in the 10 areas that are listed below? Pick the things that will make the biggest difference in your life and begin there.
2. Freedom (to travel, purchase or dream )
4. Education/Personal Development
5. Relationships (self and others)
8. Financial (include how much you want to make and what you will do with it)
Goals are Important
Whenever I take the time to ponder what I really want and make a firm commitment about a particular area of my life, I am much more successful. There is something about taking the time to plan it out that just does it for me. If I don’t sit down and write it out, I guess I just don’t really make the commitment needed to do it. It happens every time. I can spend days making New Year Resolutions about the things I want to change, but I have learned that if it doesn’t get on paper, with firm specifics about how I will accomplish it, I will be done by February 1st – another year of resolutions bites the dust!
Steven Covey, master planner, says:
Why set a goal? Goal setting motivation is sometimes the most difficult component of making change in our lives. We don’t feel motivated, or we feel like every time we attempt it turns into a failure. This failure causes to look at goals in a very wrong way. Goals are important, there is great power that comes from setting and achieving goals.
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely:
- Specific – A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the five “W” questions:
Who: Who is involved, just you or others?
What: What do you want to accomplish?
Where: Identify a location.
When: Establish a time frame.
Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Get prepared.” But a specific goal would say, “I will create an individual 72 hour kit for each family member by May 31st.”
- Measurable – Establish firm and easy ways 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? How will you track your progress?
- Achievable – When you identify goals that are most 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.
- Realistic – To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress.
A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were a labor of love. Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal
- Timed – A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no end in sight 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 time frame, “by March 31st”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.
Now identify the requirements and challenges to achieving your goals. If you are going to”Create an individual 72 hour kit for each family member by May 31st.” you need to take into account what you will put them in and what the monthly cost will be. What challenges will you face – is it a money issue or finding the time to do it? Maybe you don’t know where to start? Make plans for those challenges ahead of time to ease the stress and find success.
Use this SMART Goals Worksheet and make some goals for the coming year. You will be successful!