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SMART Goals

smartHi and welcome back to our Goal Setting Series.  If you have been following me for the last two weeks you will know that I have set myself the goal of helping you set achievable and meaningful goals for yourself in 2010.  This is day five in the series, so if you have just joined us, take some time to go back through the previous posts and work through the activities.  If you have been working along with us, drop me a line and let me know how you are going and share a goal or two if you like.
Today we are getting down to what is the real focus of this series.  The purpose of goal setting should be to set goals that motivate you towards action.  Goals have to state not just what you want, but what you are going to do to get it.  That statement is worth reading again and again.  It is the one thing most of us don’t do when it comes to goals and if someone asked me to define a goal that statement would form the basis of my definition.
A popular way of defining what goal setting is, is to use the SMART acronym.  There are a number of variations on this but here is the one that helps me.
SMART Goals are:
• S Specific
A clear and concise statement
• M Measurable
‘What get’s measured gets done!’.  Include in your goal benchmarks for measuring your success against ; ‘I will increase turnover by 200% in 12 months’.
• A Attainable
Goals need to be attainable.  This does not mean easy, but you need to have a reasonable expectation of being able to achieve the goal if you do the work.  If you are 39 and have not strapped on a pair of tap shoes since you were 20, winning ‘So you think you can Dance’ is not a realistic goal (note to self!).
• R Relevant
Make sure that your goals mean something to you and that they are your goals, not someone else’s for you.  They should also be informed by what you want from life.
• T Time-bound
Goals must have a deadline or natural ending.  This will keep you motivated towards achieving the goal.  A goal that is not time-bound is a dream
So for example, if your dream is to ‘run a marathon’, your goal may read, ‘run a marathon by 30 June, 2011’.  The second statement is much more powerful and immediately prompts you to consider what you need to do to achieve this goal and you may then go on to set further, more short-term goals, that will assist you in achieving this longer term one, such as ‘I will commit to running 6 days per week, slowly building my kilometres each week, until I am running 45km in a single session’.  Can you see how we have made what sounds like a bit of a dream; specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound?  Now go back to your list and look at the statements there from this angle.  This is a bit like brainstorming but more specific (there is that word again).
Happy goal setting and I will see you tomorrow.

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