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How SMART Is Your Goal??!!

Updated on January 3, 2013

The New Year is always that time when people make hundreds of new resolutions. But it is also that time when more than half the resolutions are broken within the first week. And the remaining majority is broken in the first month. So, how do you stick to this resolution? Simple!! Make your resolution a SMART goal.

You may not know this, but the SMART goal is actually smart. So, what is this SMART goal? Let me explain it to you.

1) Specific

A goal must be always specific. Let us take an example. One of my friends wanted to have a lot of money in this year. There is a problem here. How do you plan to earn “a lot of money”? You certainly don’t want to steal it. Or, do you plan to beg for it? You need to put it in specific terms. You can put it as “I want to earn money from writing guest columns for the newspaper twice a week”. See?? This is more specific. Make your goal as specific as possible. Remember to ask yourself the questions who (is involved), what (exactly do you want), how (do you plan to achieve it), why (do you want to achieve the goal), where (do you want to achieve it) and which (are the constraints).

2) Measurable

The second problem with resolutions such as “I want to earn a lot of money” or “I want to lose fat” is that it is immeasurable. Let me ask you how much is a “lot of money”? For a beggar on the street, $100 is a lot of money. For a millionaire, $100 is not even pocket change. So, how much is a lot of money for you? Again, don’t just put a number such as 10,000. Is it ten thousand cents, dollars, yens or something else? A goal must always be measurable. You need to understand that just a number is still vague. Put a number and assign it a measurable unit such as dollars (if it is money) or kilos (if you plan to reduce weight).

3) Achievable/Attainable

SMART goals always have a specific path of action. When you start walking on the path, you begin to achieve more and the goal begins to become more achievable. Most importantly, the goal is attainable if you take any action. You cannot sit on the couch all day long watching TV and expect to lose 3 kilos in a month, can you? So, a goal that is attainable or achievable requires the attitude and an action. Else, it will be just another wishful thinking.

4) Realistic

This is very closely related to the third term and can be easily confused with it. Let me explain you what “realistic” means. While it is good to have a big goal, you must also be able to achieve it. Some people tell you to aim high so that even if you miss it, you will achieve at least something. While this is a good idea, it may not be a very good idea to keep a goal which is so high in the sky that you are even afraid to start working for it. For example, you may want to join the army, but what if you are unfit to walk even 5 kilometers without catching your breath? Make your goals realistic. Otherwise, they will be as realistic as jumping from the 13th story without any protection gear and expecting to survive.

5) Time bound

Goals must be always time bound. Let me go back to the earlier example of earning a lot of money. Let us say that you put down the goal of “earning $2,000 by writing two guest columns in the local newspaper”. While this encompasses all the above ingredients, it doesn’t include another key ingredient. The question here is “by when”. Would you like to achieve it in six months or 1 year or 10 years? When you put a time frame around your goal, it has high chances of becoming attainable as well as realistic. Put a specific time frame around your goal so that you can start working towards it.

Now that you know how to convert your New Year resolution to a SMART goal, I hope that you will be able to achieve most of the goals you have put down for this year. All the best for achieving those goals and a Happy New Year!!


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