It’s that time of year again! The beginning of any period is an opportunity for renewal, but somehow nothing gets our juices going quite like the new year. Many people will make resolutions, but the real question is – will they be successful, or will “resolutionary fervor” dissipate in early February?
A strategy I’ve used is taken straight from the business world – setting SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timebound goals tend to be completed, and the SMART structure allows you to quickly put together a draft and track your progress. Let’s take a quick look at the elements.
- Specific. The goal is not “squishy” – it is very focused.
- Measurable. The goal can be quantified and progress tracked.
- Achievable. The goal can be done – it is not beyond the capability of the individual. This is important, since it improves stickiness. If the individual doesn’t believe it can happen, they will quit before they get started.
- Relevant. The goal has connection to the individual.
- Timebound. There is a start and stop period. This aids in measurement, too.
Let’s take a typical example from this time of the year – improving your health by losing weight. Using the SMART format, it might look like this: “I will lose 15 pounds by the end of May.”
- Is it Specific? Yes – losing pounds/weight.
- Is it Measurable? Yes – we’ve called the number of pounds at 15.
- Is it Achievable? Yes – for a person over 150 pounds, it is less than 10% of their body weight.
- Is it Relevant? Yes – it connects to health, and there are subroutines that can be built (exercise, eating, etc.) to support it.
- Is it Timebound? Yes – by end of May gives us 5 months to complete the task.
This is a simple example of using the SMART structure to set and achieve goals. To make it even more “sticky” and improve the odds of success, share your goal with an accountability partner who can help you track against it.
Do you have others? What’s your top goal for 2016?