SMART Goals Help Keep Me On Track, and They’ll Work For You Too

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Make your time more productive by using SMART Goals!

Why I Love Using SMART Goals

I began working from home full time as a freelance writer in Fall 2017 after my chronic illnesses made it too difficult for me to work outside of the home and was struggling with the transition. Just because my body was tired all of the time, it didn't mean my mind also was. With my physical limitations, there was only so much I could get done in a day and struggled with figuring out where to draw the line.

In late spring 2018, I started seeing a new therapist. After talking about my problems with figuring out when to work, when to do housework, and when to rest, she asked if I'd ever heard of SMART Goals. I hadn't. She broke down what it was for me and suggest I try using them until my next appointment to see if they helped me.

I liked the idea of SMART Goals, though I was skeptical if it would work for me. I procrastinated a day or two before I finally jotted down some of the things I needed to do and breaking them down. It turns out, I was able to make my work assignments, home tasks, and everything else more manageable because I could prioritize them better. Along the way, I realized not everything had to be done in one day, but feel better knowing it's at least on my calendar!

What Are SMART Goals?

SMART Goals are a way to get the most out of your time by giving your goals a sense of structure. Using SMART Goals will take vague ideas and create "verifiable trajectories" that will guide you toward goal milestones and, eventually, transform your goal into reality. SMART Goals will guide you into "realistic" goal setting and increase your motivation, ultimately resulting in "better results" for you in the long run.

An acronym, SMART Goals stands for:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Time-based

Taking the time to break your goals down into the SMART system may just give you the boost you need this year to achieving everything you want! Whether your goals are as big as buying a house or something smaller like writing a research paper, SMART Goals might be just what you need.

Specific

Think about what your goal is. Now be as specific as possible about your goal. For example, saying "I'd like save more money this year" isn't nearly as specific as "I'd like to save $1000 this year by putting x money from each paycheck into savings." Stating that you want to save a $1000 gives you a goal that is actually attainable. It is much more specific and gives you something to aim more.

A few important questions to ask yourself include:

• What would I like to accomplish?

• Why do I want to achieve this goal?

• When would I like to achieve my goal by?

• Where will this all take place?

• Who else will be involved

• How will I accomplish this?

Measurable

Measurable means being able to measure your goal as your progress. In the example of saving $1000, you'll be able to see your account growing each time you get a bank statement. Your successes, and potential failures, are measurable by something that gives a clear indication of where you are at that particular moment in achieving your goal.

Some questions to ask yourself include:

• What are the measurable milestones along the way?

• How will I know when I've achieved my goal?

• Will I be able to meet my deadlines?

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Attainable

It's important to figure out, before you even begin if your goal is attainable. If most of your money each month goes toward bills, you may not be able to put away enough to say $1000 in a year without working more hours. If it is an attainable goal though, then you're in the clear. Other factors to consider when deciding if a goal is attainable is if you have enough money, time, or talent to achieve a goal. If the answer is no, you'll have to go back up to S.

Some questions to ask yourself include:

• Is my goal realistic? Or is it realistic for this point in my life?

• How can I best accomplish my goal?

Relevant

Make sure your goal is relevant to you and what you want to accomplish in life. Ask yourself if it is something you actually want to achieve or if it sounds more like something someone else wants you to achieve. You'll be less motivated to succeed if it isn't really your dream. Does your goal line up with other things you'd like to do.

Some questions to ask yourself include:

• Is this the right time in my life to work toward this goal?

• Will this achieving this goal make me happier, more successful, etc.?

• Is this something I really want?

• Am I willing to put in the time or effort required?

Time-based

The last of the SMART Goals, time-bound, is the deadline you'd like to have your goal accomplished, along with the smaller milestones along the way. If we go back to our example of wanting to save $1000 in a year, your milestones might be every time you reach $100 or $250 more dollars in your bank account. It really just depends on what your goal is.

Some questions to keep in mind include:

• When would I like to achieve my goal?

• What can I get done today?

• When do I want to get started?

• When/what are my goal milestones?

Let's Keep the Conversation Going...

Do you plan to incorporate SMART Goals into your life?

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