Updated: Jan 1, 2021
Goals can help us to move towards achieving things we desire. Many people confuse their desires with goals. For example, someone may desire to do better in their career and refer to this as a goal, but a well-formed goal breaks down the steps that lead towards your desires. This is distinct from simply naming a desire.
SMART Goals focus on 5 different areas of goal development:
Specific (simple, sensible, significant)
Measurable (meaningful, motivating)
Relevant (reasonable, realistic, resourced, results-based)
Time bound (time-based, time limited, time-sensitive)
Using the example of becoming better at one’s career:
Specific: How can I be more specific? How will I become better? What steps does it involve? How do I get started?
Measurable: How will I know when I reach my goal? How will I know if I’m making progress?
Achievable: Am I being realistic? Can my goal be broken into smaller steps? Am I focused on what I can control?
Moving towards a goal may mean keeping a big picture desire in the back of your mind while keeping the next step at the front of your mind. Creating numerous small steps can increases the chances that a goal will be achievable. Focusing exclusively on the next step can improve focus and reduce stress.
If you have a goal to clean your home then you may divide that goal into smaller parts by cleaning/reorganizing one room per week, and one section of a room per day. This approach can help you recognize the accomplishments that you have been making no matter how small.
Relevant: How does taking these steps move me towards fulfilling my desire?
Time bound: Will it take a day, week, month, or a year?
Putting a time limit on accomplishing measurable goals helps you assess your progress. Making it halfway towards a goal is better than not moving towards your goal.
If you define success as taking steps, adjusting, and learning what works then you can easily find success, whereas defining your success based on results can be frustrating. The important thing is that a goal helps you take a step towards success, and the result helps you know how you need to adjust so your next step is even better.