Saturday, October 4, 2008

Setting Smart Goals

Having goals helps you feel in control and can give you a sense of purpose. Keep setting new goals for yourself. Don't limit yourself to one or two. The SMART process is a good way to set and meet goals.


Make goals specific. For instance, plan to walk 20 minutes each morning instead of just deciding to get in shape. Start by asking yourself, "What do I want to have happen?" Try to choose goals that deal with behavior, not feelings.


Choose goals that have results you can measure. Then decide on the steps you need to take to reach the main goal. Give yourself a deadline, such as a week, a month, or six months from now.


Think about what you can honestly achieve. Goal setting is a good way to push yourself beyond your current limits. So pick a goal that requires some effort. But choose a goal that you have a real chance of reaching. For instance, you may not be able to run a marathon, but over time you can increase how long you walk.


Reaching your goals feels great. But find extra ways to reward yourself along the way. For instance, buy a new pair of walking shoes when you can walk 6 blocks without stopping. Plan rewards ahead of time so you have something to look forward to.


Keeping track of your progress will help you stay motivated. Try noting what you achieve each day on a chart or in a diary. Describe how you feel about your progress.

Your SMART Goal

Take a look at the sample goal below. Then write out your own SMART goal on a piece of paper or in a journal.

Sample Goal:

S: You will cook dinner for friends who have helped and supported you.

M: You will have reached your goal when they sit down to eat your famous low-fat lasagna.

A: It would be too much work to cook one meal for all the people who have helped you. So you decide to have two dinner parties and invite four friends each time.

R: Once you have all the details planned, you buy a new cookbook you've been wanting.

T: You make a checklist of things to do, such as buying fresh Parmesan cheese, setting the table, and baking bread.

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