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Goal Planning – Part 5

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You may have heard the term “SMART Goals” before, but in this part of my Goal Planning Series, you’re going to learn how to be SMARTER about your goals. Setting your goals using this process results in goals that become the basis for your personal map to success.

You can apply this exercise for both short term and long term goals. These could be BIG goals that push you outside of your comfort zone – paying off your debt (student loans, mortgage, car, etc.), going into business for yourself, losing 100 lbs. Or they could be goals that you can accomplish on a smaller scale – organizing your kitchen, eating healthier meals at home, taking a class or learning a new skill.

You’ll want to make sure your goals are laser-focused, measurable, and have a deadline to complete. You can simplify this by following the 7-Step SMARTER goals formula – which stands for: Specific, Meaningful, Accepted (or Agreed), Realistic, Time, Envision and Reflection.

  • S: Specific – Be clear on where you are now and where you want to be in the future. Don’t just say “I want to lose weight” or “I want to make more money”. For these two examples, you would need to put an exact number to it because you need to be able to quantify the goal.
  • M: Meaningful – Knowing WHY you want to accomplish a goal is just as important as the goal itself. In Part 4 of this series, I had you attach a why to each of your top priorities because when there is a deep enough reason behind why you want something, you’re more likely to do what it takes to achieve it. You don’t want more money just so you can have more paper sitting around the house. You want it because of what it can bring you: security, time, freedom, etc.
  • A: Accepted/Agreed – In Part 3, we talked about not falling into the trap of setting other people’s goals. Your goals need to be your own, not just what others want for you and they need to align with your values.
  • R: Realistic – When creating your goals and your plan, they need to be realistic. For example, wanting to lose 25 pounds in one month is not very realistic, so set a goal that is reachable.
  • T: Time – You have to set an exact date on when you plan to achieve these goals. When your goals are time-bound, they’re measurable, and you can hold yourself accountable by seeing where your progress is on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
  • E: Envision – Visualize each of the actions necessary to achieve the outcome you want. Focus on completing each of the steps you need to achieve your goal. (Note: Don’t worry too much about this step today. We’ll focus more on the HOW in the next part of the series, but I wanted to mention it here because it’s part of the formula.)
  • R: Reflection – After you get started, you will need to go back to your goals, read them again and adjust where necessary. For example, let’s say you find that you are continuously hitting a brick wall and not making any headway on your goals. This doesn’t mean you should just throw in the towel because you failed. If means you need to try a new approach or readjust your methods and techniques until you start moving forward again towards your goals.

For each of your top priorities or goals, work through this SMARTER formula, feel free to download and use the worksheets (linked below), to write out exactly what you’ll need to do to in order to achieve your goals.

When you go through the exercise of writing your goals out, they become more real. This helps you to visually embrace what you want and then can track the progress you’re making as you go and make adjustments where necessary.

In the next part of the series, we will put it all together and give you a game plan for HOW you will start working to achieve your goals.

In case you missed any other parts in this series, you can find the entire series linked below:
Part 1: Does Goal Setting Work?
Part 2: Creating Your Vision
Part 3: What’s Holding You Back?
Part 4: Getting Started
Part 6: Putting the Pieces Together

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