SMART Goal Setting

If you’ve read much at all about setting goals, you know that the standard outline for setting goals is that they be SMART, the acronym for the key elements you should adhere to.

S – Specific.
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Time Sensitive.

While there’s more to it than that, setting SMART goals is a great starting place and certainly an outline that should be followed.

S – Specific. In the same way that an archer aims at the bullseye (not just “over there”), so should you be clear and specific about the goal you want to achieve. When asked how you plan your vacation, you don’t decide on “the western United States”. You have to know where you’re heading.

The mind is an amazing thing. It will inherently try to resolve any tension that exists between where we perceive we are and where we want to be (the bullseye). When your mind understands with clarity what the objective is, it will work with you to find ways to get there. Did you ever have a problem, and wake up in the middle of the night with an idea about how to resolve it (happens to me all the time). But if the target is just a generality, it’s hard for your mind have a way to produce a solution. So do yourself a favor:

    Be specific, and be clear

In Napoleon Hill’s great work “Keys to Success”, he states “definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement”.

    Definiteness of purpose. Not approximate purpose.

The more clear and specific your goal is, the greater the likelihood you’ll reach it.

M – Measurable. Conventional wisdom tells us this: “What we measure tends to improve”. But many times we come up with goals that aren’t easy to measure, like “save more” or “lose some weight”. Hence the requirement: SMART goals must be measurable. That way you can hold your self accountable to a clear outcome, and by staying aware of your progress as you go you’ll be able to make intelligent adjustments along the way. Make your goals measurable, and then … measure them.

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