Think of a time you created a goal, and you didn’t achieve it..
How did you feel? ________________________
Think of a time you created a goal, and you did achieve it.. How did you feel? __________________
One of the best ways to achieve our goals, self-trust and self-confidence is to follow this SMART goal format for creating a goal.
S pecific M easurable A ttainable R ealistic T imely
Specific is important because when your goal is specific, then the goal is clear. If you were to set a goal such as; “my goal is to run”. This goal is less likely to be achieved compared to the goal “I will run twice this week for at least 10 minutes”. The more specific and clear the goal, the more likely it will be achieved.
Measurable means to be able to measure your goal. If your goal is “to be happy”, how do you measure that? A more measurable goal could be “I will laugh at least three times today and tomorrow” or “I will go grocery shopping tomorrow and I will smile at everyone I walk by”.
Attainable, I think, is the most important piece of the SMART goal. If the goal we set isn’t attainable, then we won’t achieve the goal, and our confidence will drop and we will probably feel hard on ourselves and all the emotions that come with that. Attainable does NOT mean ideal! We may have an ideal goal like “have a morning routine everyday” or “run everyday for an hour”, but if we don’t have any morning routine right now or haven’t ran for 2 years, it’s likely that the goal to have a morning routine or run everyday is not going to happen. Having a morning routine or running everyday is the ideal goal. This is what we are working towards. What are the steps to get there? “One step at a time, baby!”. Something that may be attainable could be “Have a 30 minute morning routine in the morning before work, dressing up, doing my makeup, drinking tea and eating breakfast at least twice this week” or “run for at least 10 minutes 3 times a week for 2 weeks” or “standing in the sun for 30 seconds”. Sometimes creating an attainable goal can feel to be the hardest part of the SMART goal because it can feel “too small” or “too easy” - perfect! So then it’s attainable.
Realistic is similar to attainable and I think is up there in importance. Is the goal realistic? Is it realistic that you will run everyday for an hour a day even though you haven’t ran for two years? Or is it realistic that you will run for at least 10 minutes a day for at least 3 days a week? Being realistic requires you to be honest with yourself. Being realistic means meeting yourself where you are at. A yogic principle is that - you have to meet yourself where you are at in order to get to where you want to go. One of my spiritual teachers uses the analogy: if you are in Seattle and you are trying to get to Los Angeles, but you THINK you are in New York, then you are not going to get to Los Angeles. If you KNOW you are in Seattle, then you will have the clarity on how to get to Los Angeles.
Timely means to set a time goal. This creates a solid structure for you to hold yourself accountable and also keeps the goal clear. What is important about putting a time structure on a goal, is that this gives you room to grow. Adding a time onto a goal may put you into your “growth zone” pushing you to achieve this goal maybe sooner than you otherwise would. It also gives you space to reassess the goal at the end of the time limit you set. For example, if you have a goal to meditate for at least 5 minutes for at least 3 days for 2 weeks, then by the end of the 2 weeks, you have the opportunity to check in and ask “how did that go? Did I reach the goal? Was it too big of a goal for me? Can I do more?” and then from there you can either shorten the goal or lengthen the goal to make sure it is attainable and realistic.