Every year we all count down to the New Year and then make resolutions we really mean. We plan to stick to these goals and ambitions. We are committed to making the changes that will improve our lives. And every year most of us look back and realize that we have failed to meet most of our goals. Is it because we are not committed to change? Or is it because we never really sat down and mapped out our route to success? Is it because we didn’t take a few minutes to set some goals?
Most people think goal setting is complicated, time consuming and something you do at corporate seminars to while away the time. But goal setting can be fast efficient and one of the best ways to actually make your dreams a reality, especially if you use a system like a SMART goal template. And by smart I mean truly SMART.
What is a smart goal template?
Smart is an acronym for setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-framed goals and when you use this template for goal setting your dreams become concrete road maps to success as opposed to vague hopes and dreams. Creating a SMART goal template for yourself is as simple as sitting down and setting up a word document, or spreadsheet or even a journal with the intention of recording your goals in a systematic way so that you can achieve them.
Step 1 – Being Specific
As mentioned above, to set up smart goals you need to start by being specific about what you want to achieve. Let’s use weight loss as an example since most people at some stage in their lives want to lose a few pounds. If you want to create a smart goal setting template then you need to be specific about how much weight you want to lose. “A few pounds” is not going to cut it. How many pounds? Or better still with weight loss, what are you losing the weight for? Do you need to fit into a specific outfit? Do you want to look great lying on the beach at spring break on that new string bikini you bought? Being specific will help you focus on your goal whereas a general goal is far more difficult to achieve.
Step 2: Create ways to measure your goal
Now that you have an idea of the goals you want to achieve, you need to decide how you will measure your success. Creating milestones to success makes a journey far more rewarding. Imagine attempting a road trip across the US without any milestones. The journey would be impossible but by adding small achievements along the way, you are far more likely to make it all the way across. You may even enjoy the trip!
Step 3: Planning for achievements
Now that you have a specific goal and a way to measure the goal, it’s time to decide how you will measure your achievements along the way. If you need to lose a hundred and fifty pounds for example, then setting your goal and creating ways of measuring your goal are good but the goal will seems almost impossible to achieve, unless you break the goal down into smaller achievements along the way. Break your goal up into smaller steps and then as you achieve those smaller goals, you will be more motivated to stay the course.
Step 4: Make your goals realistic
Assuming you do have a hundred and fifty pounds to lose, it’s no good planning to lose them in a month! Or if you want a million dollar income, its no good planning to make that amount of money in your first month. But these goals are attainable. People accomplish things like this everyday. The key to setting goals which you can achieve is to set realistic or relevant goals. By realistic I mean that you need to set small objectives you really achieve. By relevant, I mean you need to take your life into account. Let’s say you want to lose ten pounds a month. That is a pretty realistic healthy goal for weight loss. But it’s most likely not realistic to expect to lose that over the Christmas break.
By setting realistic, relevant goals, there is far more chance of you achieving your goals and ultimately sticking to your long term goal.
Step 5: Set time limits to achieve your goals
This is often one of the most intimidating steps in goal setting. For some reason, setting a deadline makes your heart skip a beat. It’s one thing to dream about looking like a swim suit model, but the act of choosing a deadline somehow makes that goal seem more intimidating and concrete. But don’t let the fear of setting a deadline sidetrack you from achieving what you want. If you have set specific goals, planned a road map for your success and taken your life into account, then the plan you have will most likely be one you can implement. Self-confidence can also play a role in setting time limits but self-confidence can mastered. You can Transform Self Doubt into Confidence.
When you set your time limits, set the deadlines for the steps along the way and in no time at all you will have made the journey. And if you set realistic goals which mean a lot to you, the chances are you would have not only reached your destination, you will have had fun along the way as well.
Setting up a SMART goals Excel template
To create my personal map to success, I find that excel works best for me. Keeping an excel spreadsheet with my smart goals allows me to keep checking back to see how I am doing as well as being able to add new goals and desires.
I create a main sheet for my initial goals. Just a list of things I wish to attain. And then I create a worksheet for each goal I want to achieve using the SMART headings across the top of the columns to create my roadmaps to success and also to keep track of my progress. To ensure I achieve the goals that mean the most to me, I also add daily tasks so that I work towards my goals each day. If you have trouble managing your time or you have trouble finding the time to pursue your goals then Master Your Time, may help you make the time.
Using Smart goals is not the only way to create your roadmap to success. The great thing about goal setting is that it is a personal journey and there are many ways to achieve your dreams. Goal setting 101 may appeal to you instead of SMART goals.
The most important thing about using SMART goals, or any other type of goal setting is to get yourself to actually take action and if procrastination is an issue for you, then why not set that as your first goal and start with the Anti-Procrastination Program!