Wednesday, December 26, 2012

S. M. A. R. T. Goal-setting

To continue a bit from yesterday's post about MY goals for 2013, I wish to present a formula I discovered about setting goals.

Goals need to be S. M. A. R. T.

By being detailed in the goals you set, you establish something you can track.  A more general goal of "feel better in the new year" is harder to establish than "lose 20 pounds and improve my cardio vascular fitness by running 3-4 times a week".

There needs to be a way to measure the goal you set.  A quantifiable measure like a number makes this easy to do.  "Run 1,000 miles in the year." "Lose 20 pounds." "Pay off ALL my credit cards."  Some end state that stands for the completion point of your goal.

This get a bit difficult sometimes.  We need to set goals that will push us, but not be so difficult that we can never complete them.  Setting quixotic goals will only lead to disappointment.  Make your goals difficult, but not impossible.  The idea is to push yourself but not destroy your self-confidence by missing a day or two on your rigidly detailed progress check.

Your goals should be something personal that is also important to you.  By being relevant to your overall, life plans you will find an easier time sticking to your goals and following them through.

Setting a time limit in the achievement of your goals helps keep them on the front burner of your thoughts.  Knowing you desire to lose 20 pounds in the first 6 months of the year will color your decisions without being so rigid that one bad weekend blows the whole thing.

One thing I find useful is writing them down and posting copies in conspicuous locations.  For example, if you have a goal to lose 20 pounds, a copy on the refrigerator could be helpful.  A copy on the bathroom mirror would aid you if there was a particular task you want to perform every day.

There you have it, tips for setting S.M.A.R.T. goals.  I hope this helps you focus on your desires and to achieve them.  It is good to dream, but the Impossible Dream gets old after a while. (And yes, I have made two "Man of La Mancha" references in this posting).

Another thing to consider is Outcome-based versus Process-based goals.  Outcome-based goals meet the criteria of the SMART method of goal setting.  They focus on measurable, quantifiable end states.  Process-based goals focus more on the process, such as "Eating better through the New Year" or "Training for a marathon".  They lead to a "process" and change patterns of behavior to meet the end state.

I hope this was useful to you as you develop your 2013 goals.  If you want someone to pray with you on the journey and offer encouragement or a boot to the backside and push you, comment below and tell me what YOUR goals are.  I will check in with you to see how you are doing along the way.  And, fair is fair, I posted mine yesterday so I am also asking for accountability help. Thanks

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