My previous post discussed the skill of talking yourself into doing something healthy as a way to increase motivation. This article will address what SMART goals are and how to use them to increase your success as an individual in meeting your goals. I have taught this skill to many of my clients and have used it on a personal level, so I can attest to the effectiveness of this method.
Here is a breakdown of what a SMART goal is:
Specific – The goal you establish should clearly state what you hope to achieve (i.e. what your goal is, how often you will work on your goal, where, etc.).
Measurable – Adding a form of measurement to your goal will help add accountability and will build in an internal motivating factor within your goal.
Achievable/Attainable – Goals should help to push you towards the larger picture you hope to achieve, but need to be set in a manner that is reachable.
Relevant – The goal you establish should relate to your longer-term goals or what you hope to achieve in the long run.
Time Bound – Goals should be set with a starting and ending point and should incorporate units of measurement.
Let’s use the goal mentioned in my previous post “Talking Ourselves Into”. In this article I discussed working out as a goal I hear often. To state “I want to work out today” is a very poorly stated goal because it does provide any clear direction of what is being worked towards.
A SMART goal for working out would look like this: “I will walk and/or run on the treadmill today after work for 30-60 minutes” or “I will work out 3-5 times this week for 30-60 minutes during each work out.”
A side benefit of setting SMART goals is that you increase your motivation. When you have satisfied the time requirement of 30 minutes (see above example), you have achieved part of your goal and this will help to increase your motivation to work out again and move you towards meeting your long-term goals.