Tips for SMART Goal Setting

It is important to set specific goals and to be intentional in thinking about what you want to achieve. First of all, when reflecting on your goals -identify what your priorities are. In order to do this, it may be helpful to start with a wheel of life exercise. This is a wheel that many coaches use with clients initially. The wheel can help measure one’s satisfaction with career, personal growth, leisure time, significant other, health, money, and friends & family. Some coaches might ask you to rate each area on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest). You can google and find a sample wheel of life to do your own assessment and then use the tips below to set goals accordingly.

After doing the wheel and/or or just simply reflecting on the areas you would like to work on, choose 1-2 areas to start goal setting around. Focusing on too many may goals at 1 time may not be realistic; you do not want to set yourself up for failure. After you accomplish goals in 1 or 2 areas, you can then revisit the wheel and set new goals.

Once personal goals areas are identified, the SMART acronym is a great tool that can help one devise a specific plan. SMART is an acronym that has been credited to both Peter Drucker (1955) and G.T. Doran (1991). The acronym breakdown is as follows. First of all, the goal should be specific-meaning clear and practical. Next, the goal should be measurable, think how will you measure your success in a given area/what is a relevant measure? For example, If the goal is weight loss, then think how many pounds would be realistic per week or how many resumes will you send out if searching for a job. Then-ask yourself is this goal achievable (realistic)? With achievable, it is important to think about lining up supports, resources and finances that might be necessary. The next area is relevant. An important consideration for this area is reflecting on how meaningful the goal is to you and how it ties into your overall vision for your life and larger goals. This is essential as sometimes my clients work on goals that other people may have set for them, In this case, they might wonder why they lack motivation and struggle with their goal achievement. Finally-the last area is time-bound. Think about a timeline for when it would be realistic to accomplish your goals. It can be helpful to set immediate, short term and long-term milestones/benchmarks and the target dates for each.

I would suggest writing out your goals using the SMART acronym. Additionally, write the objectives for each of the goals. An example would be if you want to spend more time exercising, identify when, how and where you will do this. Also, post your goals/plan somewhere where you see them every day, and review as a form of self-accountability. Talk with supportive loved ones about your plan and if you think it would be helpful, ask them to help with accountability. That is why some of my clients have hired me for coaching as they want that extra accountability measure. That is 1 of the reasons why I have worked with a coach. The weekly check-in with my coach helps me to stay on target with the goals I have set.

Why practice “Om”? Consider the following benefits. Walker’s article posits that research indicates that “Om” in comparison to other words, deactivates the Amygdala, the part of your brain that influences fear and aggression. The “Om” vibration activates the Vagus nerve. This nerve links information between the brain and the body. When the Vagus nerve is stimulated through the “Om” chant, it calms your digestive system, breathing and heart rate. As a result, this makes your body and mind feel more relaxed. Finally, “Om” can be a form of meditation and mindfulness as by focusing on the chant, you can quiet your mind and focus on being in the present.

You will certainly learn things throughout your goal achievement journey, and you may decide to revise your plans/objectives, and timeline accordingly. Also, review your progress regularly and be sure to acknowledge “wins”. I find my clients are often amazed when they stop and reflect on how much they have accomplished around their goal when they take the time to discuss, write down, and reflect on all their progress and personal growth. On the contrary, if one does not see the progress they would like-consider the inevitable trial and error of goal achievement. Please do not be too hard on yourself if this is the case. It is wonderful to set structed goals, but at the same time, allow yourself some flexibility as unexpected life circumstances arise. Ultimately-goal setting and achievement are works in progress, so allow yourself to explore what works best for you on your unique path to your desired goal.

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