Science has shown that goals should be SMART, which often (but not always) stands for:
Download a free SMART goals printable worksheet to make your goal SMART:
- Specific – Use this helpful formula at How to Make Goals Specific & Measurable.
- Measurable – Break goals down into action steps.
- Attainable (or Actionable) – Choose actions to take. Goals should be just the right size, with a bit of challenge and stretch, but not so out of reach as to be unrealistic.
- Relevant (and Rewarded) – Choose goals that are meaningful to you, and rewards for progress.
- Time Bound (or Targeted) – set target dates based on the size & difficulty of the goal.
- Even SMARTER goals are also Evaluated & Reviewed. – Evaluate goals to be sure they align with your values and that you are still excited by them. Keep your goal master list visible and visual. Monitor progress with Reviews: weekly, monthly, and an annual review.
Types of Goals
A resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something. Usually a resolution is a habit you want to create and maintain indefinitely. There is no end point, as they are on-going actions that you intend to continue. Once they become a habit, they are easier to maintain and require less attention. Are Your Resolutions SMART?
A goal is an aim or desired result with a clear end point, so you know when it has been accomplished.
Examples of different goal frequencies:
- daily: I will drink eight glasses of water every day.
- weekly: I will increase time with family by spending at least 30 minutes each week one-on-one with each person doing an activity of their choice.
- monthly/yearly: I will save $1200/year by making a $100 deposit in my savings account every month and track with a chart to reach the target date of twelve months from today.
Choose a habit tracker or goal charts for tracking progress according to frequency.
Learn more about How to Set Goals and find lots of free printables at the Goal Toolkit.
I like this take from Cal Wick that describes the process of setting goals in the book “The Learning Edge”:
Select a goal
Map out the work required
Act on the plan
Review and evaluate
Target the next goal
I’m also liking the HARD goals idea from Mark Murphy:
H – Heartfelt: Connect to your why.
A – Animated: Keep Goals Visual and Visible.
R – Required: goals that are important and necessary.
D -Difficult: goals that push the boundaries of our comfort zones provide the right amount of stretch.
These are all elements that aid us in achieving flow.
Read more about SMART Goals:
- Mindtools on SMART Goals.
- How to Set SMART Goals at ProductiveFlourishing
- Adding in the Why from Rightattitudes.com
- Adding in A for Accountability for SMARTA Goals at Lifehack.org
- Bushwacking for Hipsters 4: Making Your Goals SMARTer at DIYPlanner.
- How To Measure Progress in Your Personal Goals from bufferapp
- Five Steps to SMART Goal Setting from getorganizedwizard.com , with another example here.
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