What type of goals lead to success?
When making lasting improvements in your well-being, having a carefully developed goal is as important as having a map on a journey. A good goal allows you to:
- See your exact path.
- Determine a reasonable change to make in a given amount of time.
- Tell you how to measure your progress along the way.
Taking time to design your goals increases your chance of success. In the next few blog posts, I am going to share with you one of the simplest and more effective ways to set your goals, the SMART framework.
SMART goals are:
While each of these criteria seem simple, we often complicate the process by several assumptions.
We tend to view ourselves as more like machines than humans. We fail to take into consideration our individual starting points, limits, and the complexity of being a person trying to change a long-standing pattern. We need to seriously examine how much we rely on this pattern, how often we use this strategy, and how long we have been using it.
We see our path as walking a straight line on a smooth surface. In reality, life is anything but that. Everything changes from day to day. Expecting to never deviate from your path is asking too much. When something happens that keeps us from sticking to our goal, it is important to recognize this as a signal, similar to a detour sign on a road. We don’t give ourselves a hard time for taking a detour. To proceed in a straight line could be harmful. We need to learn to use these signals to adjust our course if necessary.
We want to change NOW. Think about how long it takes to learn something. If you learned to ride a bike, do you remember how long it took? How about all the aids (other people, training wheels) that you needed to rely on along the way? Changing a habit can be just as challenging. It is a process that requires time.
If you are interested and have 8 minutes to spare, there is a video about bikes and learning you can check out that illustrates this point.
So, before you start to set a goal, it is helpful to remember:
- We are human beings, not machines.
- The path of change is full of challenges and detours.
- You didn’t learn to ride a bicycle overnight.
In my next post, I will examine the first criteria for SMART goals, which is setting Specific goals.
Take good care of yourself.