Goals vs. Dreams

Why do we set goals?

You could say that everyone is geared towards setting and achieving goals. Goals are part of most aspect of life: how you conduct your relationships, what you want to achieve at work, the way you use your spare time or not … Everything comes down to priorities, and what you would like to accomplish – whether you make a conscious choice or go with subconscious preferences.

Without setting goals, often referred to as objectives, life becomes a series of chaotic happenings you don’t control. You become the plaything of coincidence. 

What is SMART goal setting?

SMART goal setting brings structure and trackability into your goals.

Instead of vague resolutions, SMART goal setting creates verifiable steps towards a certain objective, with clear milestones and an estimation of the goal’s achievement. Every goal or objective, from intermediary step to overarching objective, can be made S.M.A.R.T. and as such, brought closer to reality.

SMART goal setting is one of the most effective and yet least used tools for achieving goals. Once you’ve charted to outlines of your project, it’s time to set specific intermediary goals. With the SMART checklist, you can evaluate your objectives. SMART goal setting also creates transparency. It clarifies the way goals came into existence, and the criteria their realization it will conform.

So What does S.M.A.R.T. goal setting stand for?

To make your goal S.M.A.R.T., it needs to conform to the following criteria: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Think about a small goal you want to set for the future. It can be personal or professional. Based on the S.M.A.R.T., can you make your goal fit into the criteria?

“S” in S.M.A.R.T. goal setting – Specific

What exactly do you want to achieve? The more specific your description, the bigger the chance you’ll get exactly that. In S.M.A.R.T. goal setting there is a difference between ‘I want to be a millionaire’ and ‘I want to make $50.000 a month for the next ten years by creating a new software product’. Questions you may ask yourself when setting your goals and objectives:

  • What exactly do I want to achieve?
  • Where?
  • How?
  • When?
  • With whom?
  • What are the conditions and limitations?
  • Why exactly do I want to reach this goal? What are possible alternative ways of achieving the same?

“M” in S.M.A.R.T. goal setting – Measurable

Measurable goals mean that you identify exactly what it is you will see, hear and feel when you reach your goal. It means breaking your goal down into measurable elements. You’ll need concrete evidence. 

Measurable goals can go a long way in refining what exactly it is that you want, too. Defining the physical manifestations of your goal or objective makes it clearer, and easier to reach.

“A” in S.M.A.R.T. goal setting – Attainable

Is your goal attainable? That means investigating whether the goal is truly acceptable to you. You weigh the effort, time, and other costs your goal will take against the profits and the other obligations and priorities already in your have in life.

If you don’t have the time, money, or talent to reach a certain goal you’ll certainly fail and be miserable. That doesn’t mean that you can’t take something that seems impossible and make it happen by planning smartly and going for it!

“R” in S.M.A.R.T. goal setting – Relevant

Is reaching your goal relevant to you? If you lack skills, you can plan training. If you lack resources, you can look for ways of getting them. The main question, why do you want to reach this goal? What is the objective behind the goal, and will this goal achieve what it is you want?

“T” in S.M.A.R.T. goal setting – Timely

Time is money! Make a tentative plan of every thing you currently do. Everybody knows that deadlines are what make most people switch to action. So set deadlines for yourself and go after them. Keep the timeline realistic and flexible, that way you can stay encouraged. Being too stringent on the timely aspect of your goal setting can have the perverse effect of making the learning path of achieving your goals and objectives into a heck of a race against time – which is most likely not how you want to achieve anything.

SMART+ goals

Another thing that’s very important when setting SMART goals, is maintaining a positive attitude. Remember that what you focus on, increases. So when you focus on NOT doing something, all you think about is that thing. And it will increase. Be mindful that the intentions set in your words are powerful!

SMART goal setting with accountability is more effective!

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