The human mind is an amazing tool. One of the more engaging past times of the mind is to dream of future possessions, situations, or scenarios that we desire. Equally amazing is our ability to then turn these dreams into actions and achieve them in the real world.
Turning dreams into actions isn’t a once-and-done process. It requires a few steps in the middle. The single most important step in the middle is to define the contents of the ideal future and write them down. In other words write down a goal.
Goals are those annoying things that keep getting put aside while you do the real work of life. The good news is – if you write your goals correctly – they get done!
Here’s how you write an effective goal: You make it Specific, Measureable, Achieveable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. In other words effective goals are SMART.
A specific goal is one that is very well defined. A non-specific goal would be “I want to lose weight.” Whereas a specific goal might be “I want to lose 10 pounds of body fat.” The difference is how objective the goal is. An objective goal by its very design is also Measureable. The more objective the goal the easier it is to solve it.
Goals must be measureable because if they were not, how would you know you are “done.” Silly right – but a poor (un-measureable) goal is much more challenging to finish. For example – if “losing weight” is your goal; when are you done “losing weight?” If “making more money” is your goal how much is more?
Achieveable goals are goals that can be achieved. Goals requiring the alteration of laws of time and space generally are not good ones. It is unlikely that you can become your own grandparent, or grow an extra appendage at will – regardless of how well crafted your goal statement. Less extreme examples requiring irrational amounts of time or resources fall into the next constraint: effective goals must be Realistic.
The problem with many goals that are well structured otherwise is that they are unrealistic. Losing 10 pounds of bodyfat by tomorrow evening is blatantly unrealistic. Determining if a goal is realistic might take more time or research. Do a bit of homework to see how others have attempted to achieve your goal. Look for failures and successes to help determine if your goal is realistic.
The last criterion of an effective goal is that it is time bound. A time bound goal is one that has a deadline. Having an honest deadline helps many of us stay focused on achieving the goal at hand.
SMART goals are the first steps into turning your dream into a reality. I’ll be going over the next steps in a forthcoming article. . .