- S = Specific
- M = Measurable
- A = Attainable
- R = Realistic
- T = Timely
Mearsurable goals are just that, ones that can be measured. If it cannot be measured, it cannot be managed. This will also allow you to see your progress as you work toward your goal. Measuring your progress will also help you to stay on track, and will allow you to celebrate your successes along the way. For instance, "Reduce body weight by one pound a week" is a measureable goal.
Attainable goals will allow you to challenge and stretch yourself, but you will be able to achieve them. If you set an unrealistic goal, you will only find yourself frustrated and failing, which will not result in any change and leave you stuck in your current state. Let me state, it is very unrealistic to believe you will lose 10 pounds, or whatever it is, in one week. It wouldn't be healthy, and it isn't the way we want to go. An attainable goal would be, much like above, "I will lose 10 pounds by losing 1-2 pounds each week, and will stick to a 1500 calorie diet by documenting what I eat."
Realistic goals are goals that you have the tools to achieve. They are not easy, but are reachable. Be honest with yourself, what you are and are not willing to do in order to meet your goals. Do not set a goal of running 6 miles everyday if you do not have the time to commit to such a task, hate running, or have never run before. Factor in your work schedule, home schedule, etc. Realistic goals are more likely to be worked toward because you will not become overwhelmed by them. For instance, stating "I will not eat sweets any longer" is probably not highly realistic. Instead, "I will increase my intake of fruits and vegetables to 5 servings or more a day and replace a sweet snack with a healthful snack each day" is much more realistic.
Timely goals will give you a timeframe for achieving your goals. Having an end point to a goal will assist you in staying committed and gives you a clear target to work toward. This will also keep you from being flippant, and having the same goals every single year. Instead of simply saying, "I will lose 10 pounds," you would write, "I will lose 10 pounds by March 1st." There is an exact time and date set, and now you can start putting it into action.
Take the time to sit down and write out your goals, for this year, the next 3 years, the next 5 years. For your health, your finances, your spiritual life, every area needs attention. You cannot arrive at your desired location if you do not know what that location is and what it entails. Be SMART, and then, go for it.