In this smart goal-setting guide, I’m going to show you how to set a goal, reverse engineer it into attainable steps, and achieve it!
Now that we are almost a month into the new year lots of people have either forgotten their New Years’ resolutions or are struggling to maintain them. I thought I would share some of my tips to create smart goals so you can achieve them. This isn’t my typical post but after the last few years of the pandemic, I’ve needed to dive back into real goal setting.
What are Smart Goals?
Smart goals are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound
How to Achieve that Smart Goal
Be Specific and Realistic
You need to be very specific about what your goal is. It’s really easy to set of goal of owning a house by the end of the year. Actually achieving owning a house is a whole other story. It’s important to be very specific. Instead of saying “I want to own a house” your goal could be I want to save 20k to buy a house. The actual goal needs to be tangible and easily broken down into achievable steps.
Your goal also needs to be realistic. You can’t say I want a million dollars in 3 months. That most likely isn’t going to happen unless you’ve already done all the work to get there. I’m not saying don’t shoot for the stars but come up with some achievable benchmarks to get you there. For example, setting a goal of 50k in 6 months and much more attainable. From there, your next goal can be 100k and so on.
Join the Newsletter
Write out Your WHY
Your Why is so important. It is the reason you want to accomplish this goal. Your Why needs to be something that is really going to push you when things get hard. For example, weight loss is an extremely popular goal. Say you want to lose 20lbs. Your Why can’t be because you want to be skinny or have abs.
The thought of being skinny may get you through month 1 or maybe month 2 but when month 3 rolls around it’s going to be more difficult. There may be a holiday with lots of treats. Life can get harder, you’re busy, and you just don’t want to go to workout. Ordering a pizza sounds way easier than cooking something healthy and before you know it month 3 is over you didn’t stick to your goal. It’s much easier to just give up altogether then.
Your Why should be things like, I want to be able to run and play with my children and not be out of breath. Or heart disease runs in my family. I want my children/family/friends to live a healthier life so I am going to lead by example.
Reverse Engineering Your Smart Goal-Make it Measurable
Reverse engineering your goals is what makes it measurable. To do this you start from the endpoint and determine the things you can do every day to get there. So here’s an example. Say you want to save $10,000 in 12 months. Instead of just setting that goal and hoping you make it break it down into months weeks and days. $833/month, $192/ week, $28/day.
From here you can figure out little ways to save that extra money. Like eating out less, making coffee at home, or skipping those gas station snacks.
If your goal is a little more abstract like getting healthier or having more energy think of measurable things you can do daily to reach that goal. For example, some measurable things you can do to get healthier or have more energy are to drink more water, exercise daily, eat better, get more sleep, or reduce stress.
Make Your Smart Goal Time-Bound
Your goal needs to be time-bound otherwise you’ll probably never achieve it. Give yourself a specific time you want to achieve it. I would recommend being realistic with your time but also pushing yourself a little. That little push will help keep you going because if a goal is 12 months but you can achieve it in 6 you’re most likely going to put it off.
Ways to Manifest Your Smart Goal
For me visualization, writing things out, and saying things out loud is huge. It may sound silly but I fully believe in putting out things into the universe to manifest them. There are a couple of different techniques and you already started one in order to visualize your goals. I recommend doing all 3 regularly.
Write it down
You started with this one but I want you to take it a step further. Take what you wrote down and create a special document where your goals and whys are written out so you can look at them daily. Post them throughout your house, in your car, at your desk, on your phone, in your planner, anywhere and everywhere. This way you can see these goals everywhere you go. If you start to get bored or stop noticing these goals around your house create them again on different colored paper or change up the font, put them in new places so it is always in the forefront.
Another thing I highly recommend is writing your goals down every single day in the present tense. For example, I read a new book every month. It sounds stupid but just trust me it works.
Say it out loud
Here is where you speak to the universe. Putting out the energy to the universe every day of the thing you want to achieve will come back to you. Not to mention if you say something over and over, even if it isn’t true, you begin to believe it and when you believe something it is much easier to just do it. For example “I workout 3 times a week” becomes a non-negotiable. You work out 3 times a week.
Visualizing what you want, how you look/act/feel when you have accomplished your goal can be extremely powerful. Try closing your eyes once a day in a quiet place and really visualize yourself when you have completed your goal. I guarantee it is going to give you that extra boost to do something you don’t really want to do. I also like to create habit trackers or one of those measurement trackers. Physically checking boxes or coloring that bar to the finish line can be super motivating.
Vision boards can also be extremely helpful in visualizing your goal. Don’t get bogged down by the details. It can be big or small. Perfectly curated or just pictures cut out of magazines. A vision board can be precise like the exact car you want to buy or just a picture of a car, and it can totally be digitally made also. It doesn’t need to be perfect for it to be effective. Look at your vision board every single day. Make copies and hang them around your house, set it as your desktop background or your locked phone picture.
Check out this list of free goal tracker apps here.
Smart Goal Examples
I think it’s really good to have goals in all aspects of your life. We can all improve. Here are some examples and jumping-off points.
- Self-care goals
- Examples: Eat a more balanced diet, go to the doctor and dentist for annual checkups, drink 100 oz of water a day
- Financial Goals
- Examples: Pay off x credit card debt or student loan, save x amount of money for house/car/vacation/ other
- Relationship Goals
- Examples: Be more present in my relationships, weekly/monthly date night, tell my partner something special every day, catch up with an old friend once a week
- Feed your soul Goals
- Examples: Read a book each month, spend more time in nature, take a cooking class
You may like more of my blog posts here.