So how are those New Year’s resolutions coming along? At two weeks into the new year, are you still going strong or are you getting ready to through in the towel? If it’s the latter, you’re not alone. According to the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University, studies show that “23% of people quit their resolution by the end of the first week, and 43% quit by the end of January.” What’s more, Drive Research estimates that only one out of ten people will keep theirs throughout the entire year.

Why is this? Is it because we don’t approach our goal wholeheartedly? Perhaps. Or maybe we are destined to fail simply because we aren’t thoughtful enough about the way we established our goals to begin with.  

Have you ever taken a long road trip without directions? If so, chances are you got lost somewhere along the way. The same can be said when it comes to pursuing goals. Without a well-considered roadmap for getting where we want to go, we are likely to be unsuccessful in reaching our desired outcome. According to MindTools, “Setting ‘SMART’ goals means you can clarify your ideas, focus your efforts, use your time and resources productively, and increase your chances of achieving what you want in life.”

So buckle up … let’s take a short trip together and explore the SMART goals framework — it may make you want to reroute your resolutions.

WHAT ARE SMART GOALS?

Originally attributed to George T. Doran in a 1981 article in Management Review, SMART is an acronym for a goal-setting tool that helps create criteria to enhance the likelihood of a successful outcome.

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” – Zig Zigler

The SMART acronym stands for:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Relevant

T – Time-bound

Specific

Think of this step as creating the “mission statement” for your goal. By answering the “what,” “why,” and “who” questions, you will build a clearly defined framework:

  • What am I hoping to accomplish?
  • Why is my goal important?
  • Who else needs to be involved in the process in order to succeed?

Measurable

The best way to show progress towards your goal is to include some way of measuring it. Not only will this keep you on track, but it will also serve as a motivator to keep going — whether positive (YAY! I’m getting there!) or negative (I’m behind — I’d better get moving!).

Achievable

While it’s good to push yourself to a higher level through your goals, make sure you are not setting yourself up for failure. Aspiring to play in the NBA is great, but it’s probably not achievable if you’re full-grown and 5 feet tall. Take into consideration how realistic the goal is, given any potential constraints.

Relevant

The chances of you achieving your goal are higher when you are striving for something that is important and meaningful to you. It’s also valuable to consider how relevant it is in the broader context — that is, does it align well with other goals you have?

Time-Bound

Having a target date is a must when constructing a SMART goal. It helps keep you on track and motivated. Don’t skip this important step. Otherwise, your goal will turn into nothing more than a perpetual “to-do” list.

EXAMPLES OF SMART GOALS

Type “examples of SMART goals” in your browser, and Google will offer up almost six million links to choose from. Clearly, there’s no shortage of places to look. But just in case you don’t want to do a lot of clicking around, check out this blog article with ten SMART goal examples for your teenage children.

Have you had any success developing SMART goals? Have your kids? If so, we’d love to hear about it — please leave us a note below.

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