If you want to set regular goals in your household and then see them succeed, then you need to use the S.M.A.R.T method: setting goals that are Sustainable, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely.
S – Specific Goals Are Best
Specific goals help the goal setter know exactly what they need to do to achieve success. An example of a vague goal would be “to get fit”.
What does it mean to get fit? Are you looking for mental fitness or physical fitness? The more specific you can be when setting goals, the more likely you will be to be able to follow through.
So instead of “to get fit”, perhaps set a goal to run a half-marathon in 6 months. This will channel your efforts into a specific plan of action required to accomplish this goal.
M – Measurable Success
Aiming solely for improved physical fitness is a vague goal and one that is hard to measure. Pick a goal that is easy to measure. Let’s go back to our goal of “Getting Fit” v “Running a half-marathon in 6 months”.
How would you measure your goal to get fit? You could regularly check the scale each day and chart the results but those numbers can be deceiving. You can lose weight but gain zero strength – the numbers on the scale would decrease, but does that mean you’re fit? You could also lose fat and build muscle and at this point, you might not notice much of a change in the numbers on the scale! So this isn’t really a fair way to measure your goal. But if your goal is more specific like running 13.2 miles in 6 months time, you can take steps to develop a training plan and measure your success by completion of your scheduled runs and workouts.
A – Attainable Goals
Once the measurable metric is set, it does need to be questioned. When people set specific goals with concrete metrics, if those measurements are impossible to meet then all the goal does is discourage the goal-setter.
Remember, muscles need rest. Don’t set the goal of running 7 days a week because your body will literally fall apart – especially if you’re starting as a beginner level runner. Be realistic with your current abilities and set goals that will increase your strength so further down the road you can achieve loftier goals.
R – Relevant To Goal-Setter
Is your goal relevant? What are you going to do with it? What’s the purpose behind this goal? If the results of your goal will have a larger and more positive effect on your life, you’re more likely to reach them. Running might be a very bad idea for your body type or state of health. If running begins to create knee or back problems, you may need to re-evaluate your reason for doing so and choose another path that will get you to the same destination.
While your personal goals may suite you perfectly, family and friends might not have the same desires to run long distance like you do. So if your goal at home is to get fit as a family, customize more specific goals for each family member so they can find success in their own way to reaching this family goal.
T – Timely Achievement
This aspect of S.M.A.R.T goal setting is a good partner to the measurable metric. While you need a way to measure your goal, you also need an end date to focus on.
Your half-marathon in 6 months gives you an end date – but to help you reach this goal, you’ll need many short term goals to get you there. Planning out the short term goals necessary to achieve a long term goal like a 6 month time frame or 6 year time frame are crucial.
What Happens When You Don’t Reach Your Goal?
From time to time (and more often than not for most of us) we are not going to meet our goals. We will set goals and sadly fail but this is an opportunity to analyze WHY those goals weren’t met so we can improve our goal chasing in the future. So hang on and keep planning. Even the most successful men and women in history failed many times over before they reached the goals that made them famous.