Perhaps you’ve been working extra hard towards a goal. You think you have the perfect plan, but you just don’t seem to be making progress. You don’t understand. Now you’re feeling a little tired, and you want to give up. Tomorrow won’t be any better, anyway.
Perhaps it’s true: you won’t succeed—just yet.
But the reason you get stuck isn’t that you don’t have the abilities to do it, or that you’re not putting in enough effort. Rather, you’re missing the point of goal-setting—you’ve made yourself the wrong goal in the first place.
To achieve what you want most, what you need is a SMART goal instead.
S-M-A-R-T is a set of 5 criteria to help you judge whether a goal is good or not. It helps you make better use of your time and energy, and achieve your goals effectively. Setting a SMART goal is the first step to success.
When setting a new goal, or making changes to a current goal, you should ask yourself whether your goal fulfils these 5 criteria:
S for Specific
It is important to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. That way you can focus your time and energy on achieving your goal. Also, having a specific goal helps you stay away from distractions.
A simple trick to set a specific goal is to start with a verb. This helps you remember exactly what you’re going to do.
M for Measurable
You want to know it when you’ve achieved your goal. You should also be able to tell how far you’ve come during the process, and how much further to go. Be specific with how much or how many about your goal.
A for Achievable
Your goal should be possible within your abilities. Look at what skills you already have, and compare them to the skills needed to achieve your goal. If there’s a skill you don’t have yet, find out whether you’ll be able to learn it.
Make a plan of the exact things you’ll have to do for your goal, and make adjustments where you have to.
R for Realistic
Research into the facts and figures relevant to your goal. Then think about the resources available to you, such as your budget, time frame, the help you can get, etc. Ask yourself if your goal makes sense in your situation.
Also, be realistic about the effort you’re willing to put in. You may want to see if it’s a worthwhile goal to pursue in itself, or how it will fit in with your other goals.
T for Time-bound
Think about when you want to achieve your goal. Setting a time limit adds to your motivation. Also, work out a timeline to keep track of your progress.
Keep in mind the total time you have while deciding the daily or weekly target. It will be a constant reminder to keep you going when you’re tempted to slack off.