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It’s June and summer is right around the corner. Maybe it’s the stage of my life or perhaps because seasons are switching but I’ve found myself seeking change. Often when I look to do something new, I set goals.

Now, there is a difference between goals and blanket resolution statements. I avoid the latter as the success rate is poor (8-13% of people achieve and maintain their New Year’s resolutions, for example).

Here is a commonly used but effective way to set goals. It’s called the S.M.A.R.T goal which is an acronym to help you follow the steps. Next time you set a goal, give it a try.

S – Specific. Be specific in your goal. That means asking Who will be involved? What do you plan on doing? Where will it take place? When will it start? Why are you completing this goal (what are the benefits)? Which requirements or restraints are there in achieving your goal?

Example of a goal: I want to get in better shape.

Example of a specific goal: I will join a gym that I will attend 3x per week for one year.

M – Measureable. A goal is measurable if you can determine when you’ve completed it. A statement like getting in shape isn’t measureable unless you have listed criteria to know when you have reached that goal. Does that mean you will have lost weight? If so, how much? Or will it mean that you can run a certain distance? Swim for a certain length of time?

When we measure or track something we know when we are making progress. Progress encourages us to keep working.

A – Attainable. Attainable doesn’t mean the goal has to be easy or small. Attainable means that you have drawn out the steps to achieve it and made a plan on how you will get to your goal. If you can grow/expand your skills and desire you will draw closer to your goals because you move forward toward them not because the goals have shrunk.

R – Realistic. Goals can be both high and realistic. The important thing here is that the goal must be something that you are both willing and able to do. If it is, no goal is unrealistic. If you truly believe you can, it’s a realistic goal.

High goals are more likely to be accomplished because with low goals comes a lower level of motivation.

T – Timely. Pick a time frame because dates give us a sense of urgency. If the time frame is long, we can benefit from breaking it down into smaller chunks of time and plan what we will do within that period.

Bonus Tip: You are more likely to be successful if you share your goals with a friend or family member. They help you be accountable. Having those people join in your goal increases your likelihood of success even further. When we do something as a group we are much more likely to stay committed.

If you have set a goal recently, I would love to hear about it!

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