Published on January 16th, 2017 | by adam curran0
How To Set Goals (that actually work)
With the beginning of the year comes a new attitude, a fresh start and a chance to get going on starting some better habits or giving up some things that are holding us back.
One of my goals this year, as briefly shared last week, is to write this blog more regularly. So, to that end, here is a good method that I use to set goals and to stay on track.
Several years ago, I discovered the acronym SMART, which I use to define my goals and see if they fit a good criteria to use. In order for a goal to actually be a goal, instead of a wish or even a resolution, it must follow this pattern:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Time bound
So, once you have your goal in mind, you can apply this criteria to find out if your goal is likely to be met.
For example: Instead of saying you want to get in shape this year, set a goal to lose 10 pounds by May 1.
The goal to lose 10 pounds by May 1 is a good one, because it follows the SMART criteria. It is specific in that it defines the number of pounds you want to lose. It is measurable because you can easily weigh yourself today and figure out what your end weight needs to be. It is achievable because you know that you would only to have to lose 2 pounds every month until May 1, which also makes it realistic. Lastly, it is time bound in that you said you want to achieve it by a certain date. Statistics show that if you don’t set a date, you are exponentially more likely to miss your target.
Now that you have set your goals using the SMART criteria, you need to move to the goal period phase. This phase is easy where all you need to do is figure out when you are going to work on them. For example, looking back at the “lose 10 pounds by May 1” goal, you know that you need to both increase your calorie burn per day and decrease your calorie intake. So, which days are you going to work out and for how long?
Lastly, you will need to track your progress. Once you have your defined goal period (for example: I am going to run 30 minutes per day, 3X per week), how will you keep track of the progress?
Goals can fit a numbers of different categories as well, spiritual, financial, physical, to name a few. I would encourage a few goals in each category to keep you well balanced!
So, my goal to write my blog more regularly means that I need to commit to post a minimum of one time per week on Monday mornings.
Here are a few of my goals:
Spiritual – I want to read the entire ESV Bible, including all the notes, in chronological order in 18 months or less. Last year, I read through the Bible again chronogically in one year, but didn’t read the associated notes. This year, I want to increase my depth of knowledge.
Physical – I want to work out 3 times per week. For me, this can mean working at home doing a P90x session, attending a class at the gym or running for atleast 30 minutes.
What are some of your goals?