Are your goals “S.M.A.R.T.”?

It’s February! (Most) New Year’s Resolutions are written. Some are already gathering dust! Now that you know where you’re headed, it’s time to figure out how to get there.
Research proves that people who put their goals in writing accomplish more than those who don’t. Modern day researchers may feel they discovered this, but the Scriptures contain references to writing revelations down. Habakkuk 2:2-3. And if your goals are related to your calling, I’m sure your calling IS a revelation to you!

One method I use for writing my goals is Peter Drucker’s “SMART” concept.

S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Actionable
R = Realistic
T= Time-bound

Let’s use losing weight as an example of a goal.

Goal: In 2014 I will lose weight.
Is this specific? To meet the criteria of “S” i.e. specific you need to say exactly what you want to accomplish. Tip: Include the specific amount of pounds.

Goal: In 2014 I will lose 10 pounds.
Does this statement provide a way to measure your progress along the way? No. To meet the criteria of “M” you need to know if your efforts are productive. Think about the goal, what action(s) would help you accomplish it? How frequently do you need to take that action? And for what duration? Tip: Include the frequency or duration of efforts that would bring you closer to your goal.

Goal: In 2014, I will lose 10 pounds by exercising three times each week for 30 minutes each time.
Does your goal include action words or specific actions you will take? In this case, I think our goal is pretty actionable. We could take it a step further by adding the exact types of exercise, if wanted. Tip: Try starting with an action word if you’re having trouble with this one.

Goal:  In 2014, I will lose 10 pounds by exercising three times each week for 30 minutes each time. 1 exercise session will be a cardio focused work out. 1 exercise session will be a strength building focused work out. 1 exercise session will be a flexibility focused work out.
When making goals, stretch yourself – but not to the point where the goal becomes unrealistic. SOME GOALS REQUIRE SACRIFICE. Acknowledge the inherent struggle. In fact, I believe you should plan for it. Do you have a particular night of the week that’s really hectic? Or where you just need to relax? Maybe it’s Friday because it’s the end of the “work week”. Or maybe Sundays you really want to have some family time and a little bit of Sabbath rest. That’s fine! Incorporate that into your plans! The more realistic you are, the more likely you will be in reaching your goals. While you include some rest, you may also need to consider what you will give up as well.

Goal: In 2014, I will lose 10 pounds by exercising three times each week for 30 minutes each time. 1 exercise session will be a cardio focused work out. 1 exercise session will be a strength building focused work out. 1 exercise session will be a flexibility focused work out. Sundays will be a rest day. I will reduce the amount of time I watch tv by 30 minutes on days I exercise.
In determining if your goal and really ready to be worked on, the final element is whether its “time-bound”. You need not just the frequency and duration of actions you’re going to take. But also, if you’re working on a goal for a significant amount of time, you want to have some time markers with in there. For example, our weight loss goal spans the whole year. How about some time based goals within there. This way, if you haven’t reached them, you will know you need to alter either the frequency or duration of your efforts or completely change tactics.

Goal:  I will exercise three times each week for at least 30 minutes each time. 1 exercise session will be a cardio focused work out. 1 exercise session will be a strength building focused work out. 1 exercise session will be a flexibility focused work out. Sundays will be a rest day. I will reduce the amount of time I watch tv by 30 minutes on days I exercise. By the end of March, I will lose 2.5 pounds. By the end of June, I will lose another 2.5 pounds. By the end of September, I will lose another 2.5 pounds. By the end of December I will have lost a total of 10 pounds.

Compare the above paragraph to our original goal: In 2014 I will lose weight. This brief sentence is an idea. But the paragraph includes the who, what, when, where and how of your strategy. And strategies produce results as we press on in our callings: Phil 3:14.

If you use the S.M.A.R.T. test, you should now have a map for achieving your goal!

So let’s apply this knowledge to our blogs! Do you have any goals for your blog this year? Pray about them, make sure they’re God’s will for your life and then write them down.

Read Prov 19:21 and put the goals to the “SMART” test. See if you make any changes or gain any additional clarity. I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Comments

  1. Oh my gosh, I can’t with you! That’s what I say when somebody writes something that directly effects me but I don’t want to do it right now. This is directly what I needed to read at this moment. I have definitely been on my goals this year, and I have written them to make them plain, and remind myself of them. Today, however, as I was fighting myself about some of the goals I have, I was thinking about the measurability aspect of them. Then I clicked on your post. Thank you.

  2. When I was in nursing school, we learned to make care plans for our patients which always had to contain measurable goals like this. Since then, I have always applied that method to all my goals. It really is empowering to have an exact plan of how you are going to accomplish those goals :)

    • Hi Stephanie!

      Yes! It definitely is empowering. For me, I find it takes me a little more time up front to do my goals this way; but then, it saves me time in the long run because I have such a sense of direction. It helps me weed out what I’m not supposed to be doing in addition to knowing what to do!

  3. Thank you for this idea. I write care plans for my clients that have measurable goals, but I never really thought about writing goals this way for myself.

    • Hi Lorraine, isn’t it amazing how we do that? I find that at any given moment I can detail so many goals about & for my children. But I wouldn’t naturally do that for myself.

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