A new view on SMART goals!

Are your goals like your New Year’s resolutions?

How often do we hear people joke about setting – and then “breaking” – New Year’s resolutions? The sooner we break them the funnier it seems. Perhaps we weren’t being realistic. We may have intended our resolutions to achieve something. Or we may have dreamt of a life we feel deep down we are never going to realise. When we have experienced a few broken resolutions, we stop believing in the value of goals. We stop choosing to succeed and believing in ourselves.

There’s only one thing we choose in life

Life has just three behaviours: reacting, following habits and working towards goals.

  • Reacting is about responding to situations in ways which promote our best interests. Reacting may seem selfish: I’m rushing to get to the shops, see a parking space someone else is about to reverse into and dash in first. Reacting may seem altruistic: a charity collector asks for money in the tin and because I happen to have spare change and time I stop and donate.

  • Habits are behaving when we’ve no need to think about what we do. When I drive a car with a manual gearbox I never think about which gear I’m in, I just change gear to suit the speed and road conditions. Or you get up in the morning to go to work and dress with no more thought than that your work clothes are suitable and presentable.

  • Working towards a goal is a deliberate choice to follow a course of action to achieve something we want. I set goals every three months, review them monthly, and then set short-term goals from a few weeks to less than an hour to guide me through the life I choose and enjoy.

We choose our goals

Making deliberate choices is a very human thing to do. It releases us from the numbing effects of reacting and habit. Saying “I’m going to set a goal” gets you started.

Goals can be very small but also very powerful. I set myself a goal to write this blog. I’ve cast aside everything else that has tried to distract me and delivered my goal. Goals can last a day, or be spread over a week or month or year. Longer term goals are really projects that divide into sets of actions, shorter term goals and milestones. Very long term goals are really dreams. Dreams are great to have but don’t work on us in the same way as a SMART goal.

  • Decide exactly what you want to achieve. Being specific helps focus your mind on your deliberate choice of action.

  • Think “How will I know when I’ve succeeded?” That gives your measurement for the goal.

  • Be modest in your choice of goal so you really believe you will succeed “It is achievable!”

  • Choose a goal that is a step along your life’s journey, that fits into the bigger picture of your life. That makes it relevant.

  • Limit your commitment with a timescale: “I’m only going to work on this for the next hour / for the next day / over the next week or month” helps you to stay in control of your goal.

One Comment

  1. Posted October 15, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

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