Winnie's Blog

Making S.M.A.R.T. Goals

We?re half way through January, right around the time when New Year?s Resolutions start dropping off our to-do-lists. Did you make a resolution this year? Whether it is exercising more, quitting smoking or starting a new course in life, why is it that even with our best intentions, these resolutions so often fail?

Many social scientists believe it is because the goals we make are not S.M.A.R.T. goals. The first known use of the acronym S.M.A.R.T. ( as a goal setting tool) was by George T. Doran in the November 1981 issue of Management Review. Here?s what it means. In order to succeed in our goal setting our goals need to be:

Specific ?Measurable -Attainable -Relevant ?Time based.

Specific: The clearer your goals are the more likely they are to meet with success compared to more general goals. They must answer all five "W? questions.

What: What do I wish to accomplish?

Why: What are the specific reasons, benefits and purposes of your goal?

Who: Who is involved?

Where: Identify a specific location for this change to occur at.

Which: Identify the requirements and the constraints of your plan to change.

Measurable: If a goal is not measurable it is difficult to see if there is progress or completion. Giving yourself specific targets (I want to be at this spot by this date and so on) will keep you on track.

Attainable: Are your goals realistic? Deciding to lose 100 pounds in one week by going on a crazed diet may have some initial results, but since this is not sustainable over the long term you will usually fail. Goals cannot be out of your reach or below what you can accomplish. The question needs to be asked: How can this goal be accomplished? Develop your plan from there.

Relevant: This answers the question does this goal matterto me? If this is not something that really moves you, you won?t really embrace it. Ask yourself: Does this seem worthwhile? Is this the right time? Where does this line up with my other efforts/needs?

Time ?Based: Giving yourself a realistic time frame to meet a goal gives that goal a sense of urgency and a completion date. Life has a way of taking over our days if we are not conscientious about how we spend our time. Having a time based goal puts a little extra and necessary pressure on us to NOT have an excuse to neglect our goals.

Wishing you a very successful 2012 as you plan specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based goals.

By: Sharon Osvald in collaboration with Winnie Visser



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Principles for Real Living:

  1. I am responsible for my own attitude
  2. My attitude affects my actions
  3. I can not change others, but I can influence others
  4. My emotions do not control my actions
  5. Admitting my imperfections does not mean that I'm a failure
  6. Love is the most powerful weapon for good in the world

Desperate Marriages by Gary Chapman, Northfield Publishing, Chicago 1998, 2008