Setting SMARTER Goals

We all have things we would like to change about ourselves or in our lives to help us feel better or be more successful and happier. We can achieve change if we set goals. As you can see SMARTER goal setting is an invaluable tool in setting and accomplishing your personal goals, no matter what they are. Here are some tips to assist in your goal setting:

Understand why you need to change – You will never commit to change if you feel making change is useless. Consider your Doctors recommendations or contemplate your satisfaction with your health or life in general. This can help you see why making a change in your life could be important.

Brainstorm all your options – Taking the time to look at, break down, and analyze your options opens your mind up to the process of goal setting. Making a list of all the changes you have thought of making can help you prioritize your goals and assist in planning.

State each goal as a positive statement – Expressing your goals positively assists in keeping a positive mindset and maintaining healthy motivation. Negative statements tend to reduce motivation and commitment.

Be precise – Set precise goals, putting in dates, times and amounts so that you can measure achievement. If you do this, you will know exactly when you have achieved the goal and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.

Set priorities – When you have several goals, give each a priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by having too many goals and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones. If you are having trouble picking a goal, start making a list of pros and cons for each goal in your list to help you set your priorities.

Write goals down – This crystallizes them and gives them more force. Keeping a goal journal where you can also record your progress, evaluations, and modifications will help in your planning,  motivation, commitment and success.

Keep operational goals small – Keep the low-level goals that you are working towards small and achievable. If a goal is too large, then it can seem that you are not making progress towards it. Keeping goals small and incremental gives more opportunities for reward. Small and cumulative steps are more achievable than large generalized steps.

Set performance goals, not outcome goals – You should take care to set goals over which you have as much control as possible. It can be quite dispiriting to fail to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control! If you base your goals on personal performance, then you can keep control over the achievement of your goals and draw satisfaction from them.

Set realistic goals – It is important to set goals that you can achieve. All sorts of people (for example, employers, parents, media, or society) can set unrealistic goals for you. They will often do this in ignorance of your own desires and ambitions. It is also possible to set goals that are too difficult because you might not appreciate either the obstacles in the way or understand quite how much skill you need to develop to achieve a level of performance.

Set deadlines and stick with them – Deadlines differ on a person-to-person basis. Just as your ambitions need to be achievable, deadlines should allow adequate time to complete the task. Pressure to meet an objective in too little time can decrease your motivation and chance of success.

Anticipate barriers – Anything can happen that can disrupt your plan and interrupt your progress. Determining how you can deal with unexpected situations will help you be prepared when they arise. Even though you cannot plan for everything, being prepared for some events can increase your self-confidence and attribute to your continued success.

Use visual reminders – Keeping pictures, notes, or magazine clippings in places that will be seen throughout your daily routine can help remind you of why you chose to make a change and assist in your commitment and success. Creating a dream board with these items can help you concentrate on the purpose and improve the outcome.

Ask for help – Getting support and information from professionals, coaches, medical providers, etc., can assist in your achievement. This support team can help you be knowledgeable in abilities you have to start with and plan for obstacles that you may encounter.

Find cheerleaders – Enlisting the help of friends, coworkers, family members, etc., can help you stick to your plan, make you more accountable, help you avoid slips and overcome obstacles, and increase your success.

Celebrate your successes – Once you’ve successfully achieved a goal take time to enjoy the satisfaction. Give yourself time to absorb the implications of your success before you start another goal. Rewarding yourself appropriately helps build self-efficacy and self-confidence which are essential for continued success.

Keep going – After you have celebrated your success it is time to re-evaluate and create a new goal with a new plan. Never give up on being better, doing more, gaining success, learning more, and accomplishing more. Persistence is essential to life-long success.

Work sheets for self-help can be found in the DOCUMENTS page.