I was at a training one time where I was taught how to make goals that are real goals and not just thoughts, ideas or dreams. We set goals or resolutions every year but unless we work our goals into something like the S.M.A.R.T. goal process, your chances of accomplishing something are slim. I know a lot of people, businesses, churches and schools use this acronym but it wasn’t until Seminary that I learned that I was taught it incorrectly. Once someone corrected me, it made a lot more sense and in fact fixed my complaint about the process and why I hated it at first. It was only one piece, the letter R, but it was enough to put a wrench into the process. In its simplest form here is what I was taught, everything was right except the R.
Specific: your goal needs to be narrowed down to something into it’s smallest part. The usual resolution is to lose weight. How are you going to lose weight, how much weight and is it physically possible? More importantly, how will you lose the weight? Exercising? How much and how often? This leads to the realization that you might need a few goals, to get your resolutions accomplished. Once it is specific, you need to evaluate if you know you are done. That leads us to the next step.
Measurable: can you measure what the goal is so you know when you have reached it? Do you want to lose 100lbs or 20lbs? Even here, it might not be possible which leads us to the A.
Attainable: can you reach your goal? If you only weight 180lbs, the average person does not need to lose 100lbs and it would probably be unhealthy. On the other hand if you weigh 300lbs, maybe 100lbs isn’t enough. Given enough time, a person can lose over 100lbs if they are weigh 300lbs+.
We will get to time, but here is where I was taught incorrectly which made all the different when fixed. I was told the next word was Responsible. Who is going to own the goal? That is what I was told. After a year of trying to set SMART goals with this in mind I realized something, what if the goal has no point to it?
Do you ever feel like you are told to do things, just to do them? Do you ever feel like your day to day tasks are irrelevant and don’t matter? Have you ever set a goal only to realize that even if you accomplished it, it would have no real impact on your life? I don’t think we ever intend to set a meaningless goal, but it is possible if you are told the wrong R word.
The actual word that should have been taught to me was…
Relevant: is the goal accomplishing something that is getting you where you want to go? If it isn’t relevant to your life, your organization’s vision or anything of value, then what’s the point? It fixed my problem, I learned to start crossing out goals that were not moving my job responsibilities forward. It created the intrinsic value I needed to be motivated with my goal. Does losing 20lbs by exercising three days a week of 30 minutes by jogging around my neighborhood relevant to my life. Yes? If you don’t like running, find another way to lose weight that is relevant to you.
Time Activated: this last one is easy, when will you have this done? To lose weight you need months. If you are starting a blog, how often and for how long will you blog for? When will the goal be accomplished? If you don’t know than you could essentially spend your entire life on the goal of losing 20lbs and that doesn’t seem very relevant, meaningful or smart.
Do something meaningful but be specific, measure it, can you attain it, is it relevant and when will you finish?
In Truth & Love,
Matthew J. Diaz