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Goal Setting

What Is a SMART Behavior-Based Goal?

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When you’re discussing goal setting, SMART has nothing to do with your intelligence. (But it is smart to use this technique!).

SMART is an acronym that represents the five necessary facets of setting goals.  Each letter stands for a different area of the goal.  If you create a smart goal, your goal needs to be Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Reasonable, and Timely. Using SMART goals can set you up for success in your goal setting.

So let’s get into what SMART means!

S – Specific

S – Stands for specific, which means that your goal needs to be precise. Identify what your goal is, why you want to achieve it, and how you will get it is very important. If you can’t provide a detailed description of the goal, it will be hard to meet it. Take the time to do this part right.

For instance, “I will turn off my phone notifications while working on this project”. You set yourself to become free from the distractions to keep you focused on your daily projects.

M – Measurable

M – Stands for measurable, which means that you should be able to use this to measure success. To be effective, the road towards achieving a goal must be able to be measured.

The above example indicates how much more of the project you can do by turning off all phone notifications.

A – Attainable

A – Stands for attainable, i.e. not so overwhelming that you start out feeling as if you can’t do it. That defeats the entire purpose of the exercise. Start off with smaller goals that you know you can achieve, such as positively changing one single habit. Then focus on doing that consistently before attempting to change other habits. Goals should also be achievable or you will only get frustrated. Build on these small successes and before you know it, you’ll be achieving your big goals, as well!

R – Realistic

R – This can stand for realistic. Realistic goals can mean that you’re setting up success right from the beginning. It should be according to your personality and lifestyle. Changing your behavior to achieve a goal will never work if you don’t know yourself realistically. Know who you are, what you’re capable of, and what you’re willing to do. If you want your goal to succeed, it should be something that is realistic or you will fail. It should also be relevant to your life’s vision and match with your values. Start with easy behavior changes and fit according to your values. Once you’ve mastered those, you can ramp up on changing behaviors that might be more challenging for you.

T – Time-based

T – Stands for Time-based or time limit.  Putting a deadline on achieving a specific goal can often spur more action toward that goal. If you don’t set a time limit and you can’t track what is happening, your goal will be hard to achieve. But there’s a fine line between too little and too much time. Changing behavior patterns often takes time, so make sure that you’ve accounted for this.

SMART goals can help you with setting behavior-based goals. You can follow it through and know when and how you can meet them. Doing that will result in the unexpected progress in obtaining your goals.