Using SMART Goals to Accomplish Big Things

The Author

Baylor Bear. Journalism - Public Relations. International Studies. Writer. Blogger. New Media Enthusiast, Learner. Motivated. Driven. Mac Enthusiast. Texas. Photographer. Designer. Catholic.

Let’s talk about goals.

This post comes partially from the realization that just two weeks after New Year’s (time sure does fly) some of my New Year’s resolutions have already fallen by the way side (or never really got off the ground in the first place).

In my cubical, I have this clipping from a business newsletter we received in the mail. It’s a short article, on the back page opposite the side with the address, that quickly overviews a plan to be successful when it comes to creating goals.

What method did this short little article swear by? SMART goals.

SMART goals are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. These can come in handy not only when making career goals but also when we think about what we want to accomplish in our lives, our faith and other hobbies or dreams we have.

Our goals must be specific. Imagine your goal in life is to be more healthy. There’s a lot of aspects of being healthy. Are you going to eat better, work out, drink more water, go to bed early, brush your teeth and stop falling into bed without taking a full face of make up off? Pretty quickly a simply idea of being healthy can grow into an overwhelming task even before you’ve started. Being specific is key, even if it’s the small things like going to bed 10 minutes earlier, you’ll feel more accomplished with the little things.

Your goals must be measurable. How will you quantify your successes? Will you pay attention to pounds or inches lost, how your clothes fit or something else? It’s extremely motivating to be able to see your goals being accomplished in a concrete way.

It’s also important to ensure that your goals are attainable. Now, I’m not suggesting that you play it safe, but there’s a different from playing it safe and being unrealistic. One can’t expect to train for a marathon in six weeks if you’ve never run a mile before. Making sure your goals are attainable can be extremely helpful in the processes of accomplishing what you wish to do.

Your goals also must be relevant. Whatever you goals are, they have to really mean something to you. This way, the desire to actually make these changes in life will encourage you to push through the rough times and accomplish what you set out to do!

Last but not least, your goals must be time-bound. Having a specific time frame to complete your goals can help with the motivation to carry through with what you want to do. Some goals may be short term, some may be long term, but having a definite “complete by” date will help you accomplish whatever you’ve set out to do.

Now, to address New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve talked with some of my friends who have sworn off the idea of a New Year’s Resolution because they are often cliched and soon abandoned.

For the past year, I’ve made myself a list of 24 things I wanted to do before I turned 25 (in hopes of combating the impending quarter life crisis) and slowly have been accomplishing them. Some of them are big goals, some are small. Some are one time occurrences, some are an ongoing process. But what matters is that they are all attainable and part of the desire to make sure that this year before I turn 25 is a success.

How do you create and keep up with your goals? Have you sworn off New Year’s Resolutions for another type of goals? Sound off in the comments, I’d love to know what works for you!

Smart goals



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  • Trenton Henrichson

    Warning uninsurable questions on the way [not rhetoric feel free to give your best answer I but I don't believe there is a completely *right* answer]. So what do you do for things that are no naturally quantifiable… for instance if you wanted to be more spiritual you could count hours of prayer or pages of Catholic teaching read but is that really relevant measurement for a step forward in your spiritual life? How do you keep your measurements in line with Gods “quantifiers”, For instance I want to improve myself as a blogger (this is literally the case but is also rhetorical)? I could count likes and page views or just count pages written. But I rationally know that if I really wanted to be liked I would back off from the full teaching of Christ and water it down a bit… and I know if I really manage to speak like Christ it should expect outrage and crucifixion not likes. What I want to measure is the impact I’m having on my readers, are spirit they increasing or decreasing in faith/hope/love … but there is no nob for that. So what is the right way to measure that. Finally how do you deal with goals that honestly will not conform to your time table. I’m single I’d kind of like to change that. But… be in a long serious relationship in the next -x- months (?years?/?decades?) I mean I can’t actually control that can I? And if I try to quantify my interactions with women… well that might be unkind to the women in my life.

    • Elizabeth George

      Hey Trenton! I think you’re right with the “no right answer” that this method of creating and keeping track of goals isn’t always the most practical for what you want to do.

      Perhaps this type of goal is just a small part of achieving what you ultimately want to do. In the case of blogging, maybe the goal would be to post X times a week or to network X amount of bloggers in order to expand your reach, but that satisfaction of doing a good job and reaching other people comes from a different place. For example, I could set out to blog 3 times a week on my personal blog to practice my writing, wordpress skills and creating a good social media presence for myself but, the *real* satisfaction comes from the moment I get someone who tweets, emails or comments letting me know how much the post really impacted them. So you’re right, there’s not necessarily a quantifiable milestone that you can assign to it.

      So maybe we just all need some SART goals? (Well, it may need a new acronym..)

      And yes, I wouldn’t suggest placing a quantifiable quota on your interactions with women. It may not fair so well :)

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