Do we still remember the good intentions, our goals for 2021 – are we even remotely still thinking about them? For example, about the plan to finally do more sport, eat healthier and get enough sleep?
The SMART goals formula could help us achieve such goals.
March 2021: The good January resolutions are a pale memory for some (or yet many?) of us. Due to distractions and the illusion of always being able to function in multitasking mode, the focus on the essentials was probably already gone by end of January. If life consists of numerous individual projects, how many have we really implemented to date? Good project managers show the way: They achieve their goals with the SMART formula.
Example: what’s wrong with the resolution “Starting on January 1, I want to go jogging again”? Well – it is too generic, says nothing about how, when, how often and how much. In fact, a goal is SMART only when the following criteria are met:
S for Specific:
The more comprehensively the goal is described, the less room for interpretation can dilute the real intentions behind it.
M for Measurable:
The more specific the “how” and/or “how much” is formulated, and small achievements inbetween are celebrated, the more difficult it will be to stray from the plan.
A for Achievable:
Do the external circumstances (family, health, job, income, belief, tradition) actually enable us to implement the plans necessary to achieve a goal within a given timeframe? It is often much easier to persevere in our intentions if we can count on the moral support of the family or – especially in the professional environment – that of colleagues.
R for Realistic:
Knowing ourselves well is essential, we should not fool ourselves. Are we resilient, do we have stamina? Why do we want to attain a given goal? Are we being pushed towards it or can we really identify with it? The more we mentally project ourselves into the future, visualize our “new” life according to the objective, and we like what we see, the easier it is to hold on to the project.
T for Timely (setting deadlines):
Every project has a beginning and an end. But the path can be paved with many obstacles. Therefore, let’s set milestones with appropriate deadlines on the way to achieving our goals. Let’s examine the status quo. This helps us to quickly correct potential plan deviations quickly and with little effort.
If we follow the SMART concept consistently, then “I want to go jogging again from January 1st” becomes the following:
Starting on January 1st – for the time being for the period of 3 months (> TERMINATED); twice a week (on Tuesday and Thursday as the child on these day is in day care > EXECUTABLE); for at least 1 hour or 5 miles each time (> SPECIFIC) – I want to go jogging down by the river in order to lose a total of 6 pounds (> MEASURABLE /> REALISTIC) by April 1st.
Achieving goals has a lot to do with self-awareness, discipline, perseverance and flexibility in thinking and acting, in particular in case our course has, no matter for what reason, to be changed along the way.
In life, things may not always be in our hand – but a nimble hand and smart approaches can make easier for us to cope with challenges and achieve a lot.