Turn your resolutions into smart goals

January 9, 2010 at 10:44 pm 2 comments

As we begin 2010, many have gone or are going through the rituals of setting new resolutions. Most of these resolutions will be forgotten a few months later if not days later. The reason is that these resolutions are simply wishes, pie in the sky, castles in Spain or in other words daydreaming. So, what steps can one take to ensure that these resolutions do become a reality? The answer is simple. Turn these resolutions not just into goals but into smart goals.

First, let’s define a smart goal. A smart goal is a goal that is specific, time bound and can be measured. In other words, a smart goal has the following attributes:

S=Specific
M=Measurable
A=Attainable
R=Relevant
T=Time Bound

Goals need to be specific. It’s amazing that people make resolutions but are unclear how to make their resolutions successful. For example, “I want to lose weight” is not specific enough. Would losing 1 lb, 5lbs or 10 lbs be sufficient? A specific goal would be “I will lose 20 lbs.” (Please note that this is not a smart goal but merely a goal that this specific).

A second attribute of smart goals is that they are measurable. To decide whether a goal can be measured, one question that may help is: “How will an impartial observer agree that the goal was completed successfully?” For example, wanting to become “an expert in the C programming language,” is a worthy goal, it is not measureable. Who would decide that I am expert in the C programming language? Is there a body that certifies people as being experts in the C programming language? Then, a better way to make the goal measureable would be “I will obtain certification from the International Association of C programmers as an expert.” Since I know of no such associations, I would suggest to the individual who wanted to become an expert to have as a goal to “write a book in the C programming language by a certain date” or “teach a class in advanced C programming.”

The third attribute of smart goals is that they need to be attainable or achievable. One way to know if a goal is attainable is to ask yourself “how would I get it done?” There is no point for me to plan to be a professional ballet dancer. At my age, I don’t have the body for it and the time commitment that would be necessary. At the same time, too many people have goals that are not enough of a stretch. For me, if I can answer, yes to the following questions, then the goal is game for me: Have other people like me with the same resources reached that goal? Do I see a way to overcome the barriers to the goal?

The fourth attribute of smart goals is that they are relevant. It is important to have goals that are not conflicting; or better yet that tie in to a larger goal, vision or mission. If my goal is to save money to buy a house in 2 years, then a few months later if I set as a goal to buy a brand new car in 12 months, I would be conflicting with my original goal.

Finally, smart goals need to be time-bound. This is an element that’s often missing in most goals. Most people want to do this or that but they have not set themselves a limit to work toward that goal. What is the result? Something that could be accomplished in a year or two may get done in 3, 5, 10 years or never!

If people would take the time to turn their resolutions into written smart goals, I am confident that many of these goals would become a reality. In the next few blogs, I will give some tips to help you get more out of your smart goals.

Entry filed under: Leadership, Sucess. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kseverny  |  January 9, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    what you’re saying makes a lot of sense.
    i’ll keep my eye open for further posts

    Like

    Reply
    • 2. malfini  |  January 10, 2010 at 2:19 am

      Thanks for your comment. I’ll have more posts coming related to goals.

      Like

      Reply

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