Originally used for establishing business objectives, SMART is a well-known system that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. The idea is that a SMART goal—one that hits all the buttons—is an achievable goal. And with that in mind, I’ve created the SMARTER (like you!) goal-setting system. It’s my belief that SMART goals should also be Energizing (so that you’re really pumped about working on them) and Revisable (so that you can build in needed flexibility).
Here’s how SMARTER breaks down.
SPECIFIC. A vague goal is no goal at all. “Cutting down on bread” or “walking more” are not exactly the flags that will rally the troops. Your goal has to be worded so that you can say, “Yes! I did that!” Whether it’s “lose seven pounds” or “run a 10K” or “compete in a Spartan race,” your goal needs to have a there there. Think about exactly what you want to achieve. Define it. Revise it. Then see yourself doing it. When you can state something solid and specific about what you want to accomplish, you have yourself a goal.
MEASURABLE. Here’s where your goal starts to take on real dimension. If you want to run a 10K, what pace do you want to hit? If you want to lose seven pounds, how many calories will you need to cut back? By giving yourself parameters—“I want to run a Spar- tan Race in under two hours”—you’re ensuring that you’re really in the race, and that a celebration victory lies ahead.
ATTAINABLE. This is a good one. The unattainable goal—looking like Cindy Crawford, perhaps?—is the reason repeat dieters end up back on the couch with a bag of Cheetos. Goals have to be realistic enough to be achievable, but challenging enough so that victory is sweet. So, if you’re 40 pounds overweight, don’t give yourself the goal of losing every pound in three months. Start with an achievable, celebrate-able goal of, say, 10 pounds in two months. Make it a stretch, but keep it real.
RELEVANT. This step helps clarify whether this goal really matters to you and you alone. If you want to run a 10K, for instance, ask yourself why. Is it because you’re naturally drawn to running and enjoy competition? Or is it because your friend is running the race and talked you into it? As you set your goals, keep your values and priorities first and foremost. If your goal is not a natural fit, or if you’re doing it to please someone else, you might want to choose a different goal.
This is an excerpt from The Right Fit Formula