Updated: Aug 3
How many times have you tried to set a goal and then given up on it, or gotten mad at yourself for not following through? If you are like the average person, that probably happens weekly, if not daily! Most people have huge ambitions, but don't know how to set achievable goals.. SMART goals can help with this issue. SMART is an acronym that you can follow to make sure that the goals that you set are actually achievable. You can make SMART goals for any length of time- for the year, a month or even for the day. SMART goals can be large or small.
It is Important that when setting up SMART goals, you only make one or two at a time. If you set too many at the same time, it is easy to lose direction and not put enough energy into the goal to be able to achieve it. Start off with one or two goals and go from there.
When you are picking a goal to work on, you want to make it as specific as possible so that it is easy to follow. Instead of saying "I want to be healthier," say, "I want to eat a serving of vegetables with every meal." This helps being able to know exactly what you need to be doing in order to achieve your goal.
Making a goal that you can measure allows you to track your process easily. This goes hand and hand with making a goal specific. Once you have a specific goal, it can usually be measured easily. To make a goal measurable, put a number or percentage on it. You can count how many times you have done the activity. For example, "I will walk my dog 2 times a day," versus, "I will walk my dog more often." The goal is still to walk the dog, but “2 times” is easier to measure than “more often”.
It is important to make goals achievable. When we accomplish goals, we gain momentum and we are able to feel hopeful, successful and worthy. Set yourself up for feeling good about yourself rather than all of the negative self-talk and emotions that come with failing. Take a large goal and break it up into chunks. Achieve each chunk one at a time and before you know it, you have achieved the largest goals you have ever set for yourself. If you have a goal of reading 12 books in a year, 12 books might seem like too much work and hard to start on. If your goal is read 10 pages a day, that is a goal that is achievable and works towards your larger goal. If you want to work on your marriage, instead of having the goal of having better communication in your marriage, work on asking your partner for space when you need it first..
If your goals are not relevant to your life, you will have a difficult time trying to work on them and achieve them. Let's say that your goal is to get your driver’s license but you have not turned 16 yet. Getting your driver’s license is not relevant in your life right now. This might be a future goal, but not something you should be working on in the moment. This goes for other aspects of your life as well. When trying to make major life changes, start off with the small changes that are in reach, and that are relevant to your current situation. Work on getting a job before working on getting the perfect job.
This is also written as time limited. Give yourself a time limit to achieve your goal. If you make a goal that has an unlimited amount of time, you are more likely going to procrastinate working on the goal at hand. This also helps with breaking goals up into smaller chunks. You might have a yearly goal of reading 12 books. You might also want to set another SMART goal to read 10 pages daily so you are actively working on that goal throughout the year.
Examples of some SMART goals
1. I will call 2 people a day for 1 month to work on my social anxiety.
2. In one month, I will have learned 3 emotion regulation skills to help with my anger.
3. I will go to therapy one time a week for 3 months to process my trauma.
4. I will workout 3 times a week for one month in order to work on my physical health.
Shaping? What does that even mean? Well, just like you don't expect a 3rd grader to know calculus, you shouldn't expect to be able to reach massive goals without learning how to do the little things that build its foundation. If you are trying to make a million dollars, start off with knowing how to make your first dollar and go from there.
It is easier to picture our dreams than to achieve them because we don't think of reaching these goals in little steps. For someone who never exercises and then makes a goal to exercise daily, you might get to day 2 and then give up. This is because you started working on the end goal without taking the steps needed to build the foundation. It is best to start off with smaller SMART goals that will help you achieve your larger one.
For example, for the person wanting to go from no exercise to exercising everyday, start with the SMART goal of working out for 20 minutes one day a week. Once you have achieved that and it is easy to do, add on another day until that is easy, and so forth. Making little goals that you know you can achieve sets you up for success and accomplishment. When you are achieving your goals, this builds momentum and you will eventually be able to reach large, long term goals.
Hi, I’m Kristina Anzell, I am a Clinical Social Worker dedicated to providing compassionate and tailored mental health support for moms at all stages of motherhood. My mission is to empower you to thrive in your role as a mother while nurturing your own well-being. If you enjoyed this blog post, check out my blog here! If you want more information or are seeking treatment, feel free to reach out!