5 SMART Steps to Reaching All of Your Goals


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Long before my days were filled with the words Kayli, Chloe, and Brody, I was a classroom teacher. I loved neat stacks of projects sorted, organized, and color-coded. I carefully penned my lesson plans into neat boxes, and I sat in front of my classroom with a sense of I’m doing exactly what I want to be.

I loved my students and approached my teaching with all of my heart.

Several times a year, I’d attend professional development days. They were wonderful and rejuvenating and beyond inspiring. Sometimes I learned how to fine-tune my teaching—how different methodology, wording, or technology could take a lesson from good to great, from confusing to palatable.

And other times, I learned things that stuck to my gut, that I never forgot, and that I carried with me long after I traded in sleek-lined cardigans and flats for the coziest of yoga pants and UGGS.

What I learned about goal setting the SMART way was one of those stick-to-your-gut lessons.

Goal setting is hugely important because it gives you an opportunity to focus on what you want and how to get it. If you just go with the flow, fall into default, and don't visualize what you want, how to get, and what you need to change to do so, very simply—you won't get it.

The process is simple and important. Our millennium’s Dear Abby April Masini says, “Goal setting is hugely important because it gives you an opportunity to focus on what you want and how to get it. If you just go with the flow, fall into default and don't visualize what you want, how to get and what you need to change to do so, very simply—you won't get it.” 

Sitting 10 to a table beneath a chandelier-lit, high ceiling, my teacher friends and I took in what we were presented with, much like our students did each day. And today, sitting in a small room with a much lower ceiling, but within what is arguably just as much light, I'm passing the secret to SMART goal setting on to you.

5 SMART Steps to Reaching All of Your Goals

Setting SMART goals allows you the best chance of success. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.


Specific

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Specifics help us focus our efforts and clearly define what we want to accomplish. “I want to lose 10 pounds” is better than “I want to lose weight.”

Measurable

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Goals have to be measurable. In other words, there is usually a number involved: dollars, days, times per week, weight. When you create a goal that's measurable, it's easy to determine when you're getting closer to achieving your goal.

Attainable

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Nothing happens without action. Your goal must promote action. You must be able to break your goals down into actionable tasks. 

If you can't control the outcome of your goal (I want to win the lottery), it's not a real goal—it's a wish and a dream. Your goals must be something you can control (I want to run my first marathon by this time next year).

Relevant

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Your goals should inspire you. If they don't, set new goals. 

Time-bound

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Anybody who starts a goal with “someday I want to…” will never achieve the goal. It's too vague, and there's no time frame. The best goals have a deadline.

MORE: Leaning In, Hard }

What goals have you set for yourself recently? Would re-focusing them with the SMART strategy in mind help you? 

 

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5 SMART Steps to Reaching All of Your Goals

Galit Breen is the bestselling author of Kindness Wins, a simple guide to teaching your child to be kind online; the TEDx Talk, “Raising a digital kid without having been one”; the online course Raise Your Digital Kid™; and the Facebook group The Savvy Parents Club. She believes you can get your child a phone and still create a grass-beneath-their-bare-feet childhood for them. Galit’s writing has been featured on The Huffington Post; The Washington Post; Buzzfeed; TIME; and more. She liv ... More

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3 comments

  1. Sarah says:

    Most of goals right now are just “I’ve got to get out the door by 1pm”. That’s where I’m at being that my son is only 5 weeks old.

  2. Barbara says:

    setting goals is always a great way to get things done and achieving what is set.

  3. These SMART tips are super helpful, Galit! Too often, I don’t make my goals specific enough and they fail to materialize.

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