Preparing SMART Goals for 2012
Being an active blogger brings about many benefits, one of which is the fact that I end up reading a lot of material online and offline and so get to learn a lot of new things. One of the things that I learned this year is about goal setting and making my goals SMART. SMART is a mnemonic to aid in memory (what is the point of a silent ‘m’ in English anyway) and if you haven’t heard about it, I will be explaining it in this post. Later as we get closer to the new year, I will share my actual goals.
S is for Specific
Goals should be specific and not vague. One of my goals for the new year will be to lose some more weight. I have lost about 10 pounds this year and want to get a little bit lighter since I am sure that it will be healthier for me. But it is not good to say I want to lose weight or want to get fit. It has to be more specific than that. The SMART system for goal setting will help. It is better to set a goal of losing 5 pounds or being able to run 2 miles.
M is for Measurable
You have probably heard the adage, “If you can measure it, you can manage it.” I couldn’t agree more. I tend to like numbers quite a bit and being able to measure something usually means a number is involved. Obviously, body weight is pretty easy to measure. Calorie intake can also be pretty easy to measure and track with today’s smart phones. I have an app on my phone where I can track what I have eaten for the day and inform me how many calories I have left for the day to achieve a certain goal. This was one of the tools that I was able to use this year to lose some weight, but I slacked off and stopped losing. In 2012, I have to get better about my level of commitment.
A is for Attainable
The goal has to be achievable. It would make no sense for me to want to set a goal of doing 1000 push ups in a day if I was unable to do even one, or to set a goal of bench pressing 2000 pounds when the world record for the bench press is 1075 pounds. It really makes the goal meaningless and more likely to be ignored than to strive for it.
R is for Realistic
I have also seen relevant as another ‘R’ word. Realistic seems to go along with attainability so I tend to like the relevant term a little better now that I have been reading more about goals and goal setting. For me, losing another 10 pounds in 2012 is both realistic, attainable and relevant. It is important for my health to lose some weight, not simply for weight loss, but because the focus on a healthier lifestyle is relevant to my overall longevity and ability to enjoy life.
T is for Timely
The goal should have a target date. Many of us tend to procrastinate and find other things to do with our time. There are so many activities and things to do in life that it can be difficult to manage the limited amount of time we have and adequately prioritize. If I want to move losing weight to a higher position in my priority list ahead of eating pizza and chocolate cake every night for dinner, then I need to set a time frame for shedding those extra pounds. Leaving an open-ended goal is not really setting a goal at all.
Working on My 2012 SMART Goals
Over the next few weeks, I will be working on 3 main goals for 2012. I have heard it said that it is difficult to manage more than 3 major tasks at one time so I will be sticking with 3 main areas for goal setting as I prepare for personal and financial improvements in 2012. I will then be sharing these with you in a future post in order to establish a level of accountability which is also a vital part of setting goals.
Blogging on personal financial topics has also helped me with accountability and forced me to maintain more focus on my personal finances. I was able to pay off a business credit card this year and look forward to making more progress in the next.
Readers: Are you working on your SMART goals? Care to share any before January?