You'll see various interpretations of SMART. Here's one.
Choose goals that are...
Specific (A definite outcome, not just ‘improve my skills in…’)
Measureable (Figures if you can, but sometimes it will be a tick in a box, like ‘Climb Mount Aoraki’)
Achievable (A stretch, but not a fantasy)
Rewarding (Each goal should be something you really want to achieve)
Time-based (Decide deadlines)
So what's missing?
Action - a particular way of turning good intentions into action.
The researchers' name for the next stage is 'mental contrasting'. It means thinking, not only about the goal, but what might stop you making progress towards your goal - in that order. It's contrasting because you regularly compare the two - goal Vs obstacles.
Let's say your goal is to get fit. Maybe your major obstacle is procrastination or distraction. Try this: 'When I get home from work, then I will go for a run around the park.' No excuses, no exceptions. The less you think about it the better. A run immediately after your arrival home is just what you do. Everything else can wait.
More examples of 'when/then'... The sentences might seem a bit unnatural, but having both when and then emphasises the action. (And you don't have to say them aloud.)
Keep reviewing the obstacles
Are the obstacles still relevant?
Do the obstacles make the goals unattainable? Would it be better to abandon those goals and try something else?
Are the obstacles so easy to overcome that your goals are not really stretching you? You have a to do list. Google has decided that the sweet spot for success with goals is not 100% but just 60-70%. Any more success suggests that the goals weren't enough of a stretch. Lower than that range suggests that we're not dealing with the obstacles or the goal is just a fantasy.
Why the focus on obstacles?
Does focusing on obstacles seem a bit too negative? Think of it this way: facing the reality of obstacles is a more effective strategy. It will make you more resilient to setbacks. You are more likely to reach your goals.
Positive thinking is healthy, but positivity that denies reality is not.
Researchers have found that the most optimistic goal-seekers are the least resilient. A setback can come as a shock and may be enough for them to give up. If you think about possible obstacles before you start - and develop a plan - an obstacle won't shatter your confidence or determination.
The most resilient achievers are positive in the sense of having a reasonable expectation of success, but accept that a real challenge involves setbacks.
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