Goals – a term applied so often to the things we wish to achieve but rarely set out a plan to do so. These don’t have to be lifelong plans rather, they can be attained in the near future and make you feel quite proud once you get there. It’s time to get SMART about it (ouf that was cheesy but keep reading it’s worth it).
S – specific
M – measurable
A – attainable – can actually put in motion
R – relevant – can actually achieve
T – timely – set up a time frame
For the purpose of this article we will use the example of saving up 1000$ in three months time.
Specific goals refer to something narrowly defined and unambiguous. You’re aiming for x and there’s no grey area around it. Be clear with yourself as to what this means, what sacrifices are necessary and how badly you want it- the motivation factor is key. Goals that have a clear end are more likely to be completed. You want $1000 in the bank, no if’s and’s or but’s.
Measurable goals refer to being able to track your progress throughout the process. Anything and everything can be quantified. In the 1000$ savings example, you can simply create weekly goals and evaluate whether or not you’ve reached it by checking your account statement. For less tangible examples, try and measure your personal progress in terms of time taken to reach a certain point or by rating the current progress numerically on a scale from 1-10.
Attainable goals refer to ones you can possibly achieve in the scope of your situation. If you’re working a job and earning money, saving a portion of it is achievable – The only variable is whether you have the will power to do so or not. Outline a plan and stick to it. Try making a budget or simply tracking your expenses to spend more mindfully. Holding yourself accountable will also be a key factor. When times get tough just check in with your plan and visualize the end goal.
Relevant goals refer to ones that are aligned with your current situation. Ask yourself, does this promote self-growth? Does this contribute to a larger goal? Does this teach me something new? Create goals with processes you can later apply to other situations in life. In our example, saving the money can teach self-control and moderation. Perhaps it’ll make you realize going out every weekend isn’t all that worth it. Maybe it will leave time for you to develop other hobbies that require less money and a different allocation of your time. Goal x can lead you toward the path of y which helps you discover z. Get to it!
Timely goals refer to a goal whose completion is bound by time i.e. You want the $1000 savings in three months time. This is especially important because it helps you be stricter with yourself. A healthy amount of restriction helps us stay on track for the time being. It also makes the process seem more real as opposed to a more ‘long – term goal’ that we eventually put-off until we forget about it.
Be structured in setting goals for yourself but don’t forget to enjoy the process. Be open to what comes your way throughout. Maybe the money you were saving up for was initially to put toward an all-inclusive vacation but in your spare time away from the clubs on Saturdays you were researching adventures spots around the globe which made you want to embark on a life changing backpacking experience. WHO KNOWS.