SMART: 5 Keys To Accomplishing Any Goal

I have been thinking about the elements that make up a good goal. Is there an actual formula or blueprint to follow? I believe that there is and studies have proven that simply having goals without any way to gauge whether or not you have actually achieved them is useless. There are 5 keys to accomplishing any goal that you can put into place starting today. Before I get into that, let me tell you about one goal I have set for myself.

I recently decided to take up running. I have somewhat of a love-hate relationship with the sport. It’s like what author Dorothy Parker said about her writing process:

I hate writing, I love having written.

Running sometimes gives me the same feeling. I hate it in the moment (like right around mile 2), but I love the feeling of accomplishment after completing a good run. There are few experiences like it in my opinion.

My goal is to run 10 miles/week in my neighborhood by 7 pm on July 18, 2014. My reason for this sudden pursuit of fitness is to improve my overall energy level and to prepare for a 5k run.

At my current pace, that would mean running an average of 2 miles per day over the course of 5 days. For me, it is simply a matter of putting in the miles day-by-day over a period of time until my goal is accomplished. I realize that 10 miles per week is a big deal for some and laughable for others but one of the precious things about your goals are that they are your goals. If you choose to let others in on what you are up to – great! If not, that’s no problem either. Just be up to something meaningful for you and others.

The 5 keys to accomplishing any goal is all about being SMART. 

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant & Time-Bound.

Your goals should be clear and unambiguous. A specific goal will answer the following questions:

  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • Why do you want to accomplish your goal?
  • Who is involved in this endeavor?
  • Where will you accomplish the goal?

Your goals should provide a way for you to measure progress. In other words, there must be a way to know if you are on track to successfully accomplishing your goal. Measurable goals answer the following questions:

  • How much?
  • How many?
  • How will I know when it is accomplished?

Your goals should be realistic. They should be challenging yet achievable. An achievable goal answers the following question:

  • How can I accomplish this goal?

Your goals should be meaningful to you. They should be relevant to your interests, desires and roles that you play in your life at the moment. Relevant goals say ‘yes’ to the following questions:

  • Is this meaningful to me or others?
  • Is this the appropriate time?
  • Am I the right person?

Your goals should have a time-frame and a target date. Committing to a deadline will help you focus your efforts and resist some of the day-to-day distractions that often get in the way of accomplishing goals. Time bound goals answer one simple question:

  • When?

So how about you? What is your version of putting in the miles? What goals are you working toward currently? Leave a comment and let us know!

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