Feel Like You Are Spinning Your Wheels? Try S.M.A.R.T. Goals!
Written by: Dr. Samantha Myhre
Picture this: It is January 1 and you are excited about the upcoming year. You think about all of the things you did not accomplish in the previous year and decide “this is my year, this is when it will all happen!”. So you sit down and write out your list of resolutions: “I want to exercise more. I want to re-do the living room. I want to lose weight. I want to read more. I want to spend more time with the kids. I want to learn photography.” What a great list! Then the holiday rush wears down, life resumes, and you get back into your old routine. All of a sudden March hits and you start to feel down because you have not made movement toward your goals. You are not alone! And it does not mean anything about you! As humans, we are great at thinking about what we want in life and sometimes we forget about all the little steps that happen along the way. If this sounds familiar to you, check out the information below on setting S.M.A.R.T. goals!
S.M.A.R.T. goals allow us to break down our goals into smaller steps. Smaller steps allow us to feel less overwhelmed and can help us to experience success which keeps us motivated to keep working. We can use S.M.A.R.T. goals to complete smaller goals or we can use multiple versions of S.M.A.R.T. goals to work toward larger goals!
S: Specific. Here is where we want the nitty gritty details. The who, what, when, where, and why. The more specific you can get, the more informed you are and thus the more prepared you will be.
M: Measureable. This step is SO important. How will you know when it has happened? How will you track progress and/or your outcome? If we do not know how to measure our goal, we cannot know if it has been met!
A: Attainable. Is the goal you are aiming for within your reach? Do you have the necessary resources? If not, how could you break the goal down even further? The more attainable the goal is, the more likely we are to stay motivated.
R: Realistic or Relevant. Is this goal something that you can do at this time with the amount of resources you have? Is it something that you want to do right now? Is it in line with your current values as well as your short- and long-term plans?
T: Time-Sensitive. When we leave a goal open-ended it can get put on the back burner which leaves us feeling defeated. Giving ourselves deadlines increases our accountability. When do you want this to happen? What will do you when it happens?
Here is an example of using S.M.A.R.T. goals to work toward increasing exercise: