There are many reasons to set goals: they provide a target, they concentrate and focus efforts, they provide motivation and inspire persistence, and they establish a road map to get from where you are to where you want to be. It has been proven that a person with an important enough why can bear most any what or how. Writing down your goals in the S.M.A.R.T. style will help you focus and become more productive. S.M.A.R.T. goals are:
Generic goals are much less effective than specific goals. Specific goals ensure efforts are focused and clarified. Specific goals answer who is involved, what will be accomplished, when will the goal be accomplished, why is the goal important, and how will it be achieved?
A generic goal is “I need a new job that pays more money.” However, a specific goal is “Within the next three months, I want to obtain employment in the education field utilizing my degree and I want to earn at least $40,000 per year.”
If your goal has no measurement, how will you recognize success? Measurable goals answer how much, how many, and how often? Build steps into written goals to keep yourself on track and motivated with small successes. Measurable, tangible achievements will inspire you to keep going toward your ultimate goal.
To be attainable, a goal must be realistic. If you want to lose thirty pounds by next week or become a doctor in 6 weeks, yet you have not started medical school, you are setting yourself up for failure with unrealistic expectations. You must believe you can achieve a goal to become willing to do the work it will take. Attainable goals do not mean easy goals; they just have to be doable with realistic daily efforts.
A goal should stretch your abilities. Often, a high goal seems easier to achieve because the level of motivation is much greater than a goal that does not challenge you. If a goal motivates you and is important to you, you will find ways to develop the skills, attitude, and abilities to make it happen.
Creating a deadline causes a sense of urgency and establishes commitment in your mind. “Someday” is not a time frame, it is simply an excuse for procrastination. Without a timeframe there is no motivation to start taking action.