Making SMART Goals

Well it’s a new year so I am anticipating many of you may or may not have set new year resolutions!

Whether it be in counselling or everyday life, it is essential a person sets a SMART goal.  What does a SMART goal mean?  Well it’s actually an acronym of how to set a goal.

SMART goals stand for:
S: specific
M: measureable
A: achievable
R: realistic
T: timely

So let’s unpack this further…

When you set up a goal, it’s important that this goal is specific.  Let’s say you make the goal for 2017 that your career will be successful.  What does that even mean?  You need to break down your goal so that you don’t lose sight of what you want to achieve.  So let’s make that goal more specific by saying “I am going to enroll in 1-2 workshops this year so that I can increase my knowledge and experience for my career.”

Ensuring your goal is measureable is important because it helps you track your progress, adjust your plan if need be, and keeps you motivated!  So an example of having a measureable goal would be by February 1, 2017 “I am going to have registered in at least 1 workshop for the upcoming year.”

Setting an achieveable goal, so simple right?! Yet we tend to set up this big overarching goals that were never actually achievable in the first place! Then we get frustrated and beat ourselves up when we don’t achieve it! It’s important that a goal be challenging, but it needs to achievable. Achievable goals will motivate you, impossible goals will not motivate you to even try in the first place.  Start small! Instead of saying I am going to lose 20lbs. in 6 months, try saying I am going to lose 5lbs. in 6 months!  Once you achieve that goal of 5lbs. it may motivate you even more to continue working hard.

Goals also need to be realistic!  So before you set any goal, ask yourself “is this goal realistic for me?” Otherwise if we make goals that are not realistic or achieveable for ourselves, we are setting ourselves up for failure.  Sometimes we get so excited or we compare ourselves to others and set these goals that aren’t even realistic in the first place.  For example, I am going to cut all substances out of my life.  Maybe that’s just not realistic for a person, it’s better to start with one substance.  This doesn’t mean you are hindering yourself from dreaming big.  Let’s just start with one substance and then see how it goes then maybe add another substance later on once you’ve achieved that first realistic goal for yourself.

Timely! So you need to set a time frame of when you want to achieve your goal by so that it’s never ending and you just end up quitting!  Example, I am going to not drink coffee for 30 days! You need to create some sort of time frame for any goal. If I said “I’m going to quit coffee.” Then that might be overwhelming for me to think I am quitting coffee indefinetly, then when I feel overwhelmed I quit my goal and give in.  If I think “Okay it’s only 30 days, take one day at a time, I can do this!”

And remember a SMART goal is an effective goal!!

Here is a fun fact that will link to my next post I will work on…SMART Recovery!  SMART Recovery was developed as an alternative model to the 12 steps of AA and NA as some people did not identify with the religious aspect of NA and AA.  I will talk more about what is SMART Recovery and how it works in my upcoming post so stay tuned 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *