Want to achieve your goals? Set smart ones


We are all aware of the importance of goal-setting in every area of our life such as personal, spiritual, family, mental, physical, financial and social.  Once we acknowledge the need for setting goals the obvious question is, “Do we need to work hard, or work smart in setting and attaining the goals?”

To be clever and effective, our smart goals need to be SMART as an Acronym for Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound.Let us look at this model to help us set goals for 2013.  What are goals, and how do we set them? We need to look at our present status, our future status and how to get to the future from the present using these goals.

Some people always seem to be better equipped in reaching their goals than others.  Now, you too can attain your goals by following some simple rules.
In order to reach your goals, they need to be:
Specific: The most important quality that your goal should have is that it has to be “specific.”

Never set goals or make resolutions like “I want to lose weight,”  “I want to be a better student,” and other such vague statements.  If you want to lose weight, how much weight do you want to lose? If you want to be a better student, how will you do that and what defines a “better student” for you?
Measurable: How will you measure your success?  If you want to ‘be a better student,’ what marks do you want in your exam?  If you want to lose weight, how much will you lose per week?

Attainable: It is all very well to reach for the moon but can one really get there?  So, to be able to meet our goals they have to be attainable, both in the long term and the short term.  For example, if you normally score 60 per cent in Biology, aim for 70 per cent by the next exam and not for centum.

Realistic: Your goals should be inspiring, but make sure that they are truly realistic. Realistic is different for each person and depends on each one’s personality traits.  Your friend may have set a goal to lose 20 kgs in a year and achieved it but if you can only lose one kg a month the same weight loss goal is unrealistic for you.  Aim instead for 10 kg a year and the fact that you met your goal at the end of the year will motivate you to stay on course the next year too.  Likewise in school or college, setting realistic goals and meeting them will be a great motivator for you to succeed.

Time-bound: Goals should be broken down to specific tasks you implement daily, weekly, monthly, etc. What will you do each day, each week or each month to take action toward reaching your goals? This is again very important, particularly in educational goals. To increase your marks or to complete studying one area of the course you need to have a definite plan as to what you intend to study in each chunk of study time.  Not doing this can result in avoiding the difficult chapters and not meeting the goal, or not studying adequately each day or week; or worse still studying but not enough in ensuring completion of the course.

Thus, planning and goal-setting are as important as working towards your goals.  Further, it is very important to write out your goals and follow them precisely.  Another aspect of goal setting is prioritising your goals. We all need to set goals for different aspects of our lives and we need to be able to prioritise which actions come first.
Planning, writing, timing, and prioritising become second nature to our work habits and once we get started and commit to SMART goal setting we will soon be on the road to success with our new found work habits.

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