What new this year?
Chances are that most of you will have made some sort of resolution at the beginning of the year; Some of you will have already made steps towards achieving this, others will have already written it off as unattainable.
The most important thing when setting yourself goals is that they ust be SMART. SMART goals break down the steps and considerations needed to make the end result achievable, the name is a mnemonic outlining these steps.
S – Specific
This first step indicates that your goal must be focused as opposed to general.
When setting a goal leave no room for ambiguity or misinterpretation.
To make a goal specific make sure it can answer “What“, “Why“, “Who” and “Where“
M – Measurable
Step 2 asks you, “How do you know when you have succeeded?”.
So instead of saying “I will eat less of X.” say “I will only eat this much X a week.“.
To make a goal measurable it should answer “How much/ how many/ how will I know when it is accomplished?”
A – Attainable
Step 3 asks “Is this realistic?”.
That is not to say that a goal should not challenge you; If it pushes you to work hard, good. By pushing yourself you allow yourself to grow and develop.
To see if a goal is attainable ask “How can this goal be accomplished?”
R – Relevant
Step 4 asks “Is this important?”.
For the context of self improvement I assume that you have picked a goal that is important to you, but is it a goal that should take priority? If it would be a better use of your time to eat healthier, focus on that instead of learning the ins and outs of breeding fresh-water guppies.
A relevant goal must answer “Does this seem worthwhile?”, “Is this the right time?” and “Does this match your other efforts/needs?”
T – Timely
The final step asks “When must this be achieved by?“.
To make the time frame achievable it is helpful to identify steps with your goal and create time frames for these also. For example learning to drive involves acquiring a provisional license (which means completing the correct paperwork), finding a teacher, booking lessons, learning theory, and passing your tests.
A timley goal should answer “When?”, “What can I do X months from now?”, “What can I do X weeks from now?” and “What can I do today?”
Where ever you want to get to in life, planning SMART will help you get there.
Sensei Matt Thurman, Shudokan Black Belt Academy – Aikido Nottingham