The last time I remember creating any solid goals was in high school. I had one goal; get a high enough grade point average to get into university. I have a history of only focusing on the big goals in life. I don’t make small ones and I rarely make specific plans to achieve my goals – I just assume I’ll get around to it eventually. You can imagine how well that works out!
Recently I’ve been learning about creating SMART goals. These are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound (or other variations of those words). You need to be specific about your goals. Rather than just say “I want to be a runner!” you might say I want to run a 5K or run at this pace or run for three months. It has to have an end date and be something you can actually achieve.
So I have come up with a few of my own to do by the end of this year and I tried to follow the SMART guide to creating goals. Here are a few of them:
- Complete a half marathon – cross the finish line around 2:30, train for 2 months, feel stronger and healthier, do this October 17th, 2015.
- Switch back to tea from coffee – drink tea daily instead of coffee, have tea at home and bring tea supplies to work, feel healthier and less jittery, complete this switch by October 1st, 2015
- Do a short juice cleanse – three days of juicing all meals except dinner, carefully plan out a grocery list, feel good and reboot my body for the half marathon, start on August 30th, 2015
- Eat breakfast every day – for one week, every day for a week before work, buy all of the breakfast ingredients ahead of time, have more energy and less binge eating, complete starting August 17th, 2015
These are rough goals and they can be changed of course, but I am hoping to complete them all! They seem achievable to me which is important. I have told people about my half marathon, but I will definitely tell people about my other goals. It gives you some accountability when other people in your life know about your goals – if you keep them to yourself, you can easily cheat or give up on them. Plus if people know, they can also support you to achieve them. I also note in my goals what I will do to achieve them – ex. carefully plan grocery list. I find that by seeing what I need to do to achieve them, I feel more confident they will get done. For my results, I jot down benefits of completing the goal; what the result will be. I’m not sure if this is how everyone uses the SMART structure, but this is how I’ve been using it so far and I’ve found it really helpful. I’m sure as I continue making goals for myself, I’ll learn more about what does and does not work for me.
As you can see, some of these goals are very small and take very little time (juicing) whereas the others (switching to tea, half marathon) could take a few months. I want to continue creating these goals for each year and then branch out into longer term goals – maybe even spanning over 5 years. I really used to think that goals were just something you told yourself you were going to do and then you just did it. That would be why I was setting so few because they are not usually achieved. Using the SMART structure, I feel like I can actually stay on track with my goals – watch my progress and know when my deadline is coming up and be successful.