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Setting Smart Goals


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Goal setting can sometimes be intimidating. In the first place, the individual who wishes to set goals is faced with a blank sheet of paper and an open slate. Everything is possible and nothing is attainable.

Somehow, when goals are written down on paper they become more real. Suddenly they are no longer pipe dreams that we only wish would happen, but are now goals that we are setting ourselves up to attain.
For this reason it is very important for you to set SMART goals. The word “smart” is a descriptive term that identifies a certain type of goal.

S=Specific
M=Measureable
A=Attainable
R=Realistic
T=Timely

In an effort to assist your development of goals which are straightforward and emphasize the end result, psychologists develop the SMART model.
Goals are written in all kinds of organizations, for individuals and groups, are short and long term, are specific or nebulous and some are open to much interpretation. The best goals though, are specific to the particular task you want to achieve. They have measurable aspects so that you know whether or not you achieved them. They seem reasonable and attainable, and can be achieved in a timely fashion. Using this particular model you may notice that it does not allow for too much BIG dreaming. In other words the goal must be realistic, believable and achievable in a time frame that seems reasonable. Unfortunately, this model does not allow for individuals who have great big goals. In other words, those who want to achieve millionaire status but are currently $20,000 in debt; who wanted to be married to their dream spouse but are currently single and isolated; or want to fit into a bikini bathing suit again but currently are 50 pounds overweight.

These are big goals and may not fit the criteria of being realistic and achievable or attainable. But, without dreaming big much of today’s technology and medical advancements would never have been made. So, while this particular model is excellent when helping to define specific goals for large groups of individuals or for attaining the smaller goals that help you to reach your large goal it may not be the best model to use when developing your burning desire or your list of goals you can’t live without.

But it is smart to develop the smaller goals to reach your overall big goal in a SMART format. For instance, an individual who would like to lose 50 pounds could break that into smaller, more manageable goals that lead, ultimately, to the larger goal. One such goal would be to “Eliminate all soda from the diet and replace it with water within 2 weeks.” It is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Using these types of smaller goals incorporating lifestyle choices, exercises and food choices an individual can very easily lose 50 pounds over a one to two year period and improve their overall health as well.

Using a SMART model is important when you design the smaller goals that will help you achieve your overall long-term and BIG goal. Remember that in order to achieve something big you must actually think BIG!

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