How to make S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2015
Let’s face it, New Year’s resolutions get a bad rap because people rarely keep them. Rarely.
We want to tell you the story of Donald, who learned how to speak French last year. Up until then, Donald would make a resolution about learning French every year but, day by day, he would give up and fail.
It was the same story every year … until last year. That’s when Donald changed his approach. He chose to learn French using S.M.A.R.T. goals.
Here’s what Donald did:
•Specific. Wanting to “learn French” was too vague of a goal, so Donald clarified what he meant. He decided that he wanted to have a beginner’s knowledge of French so that he could meet people and talk about himself comfortably.
•Measurable. Studying French is one thing, passing a proficiency test is another thing altogether. That’s why Donald chose to assess his knowledge by taking the A1 and A2 (beginner’s French) language exams.
•Attainable. Donald created a progressive series of smaller, easier-to-achieve goals instead of creating one big goal. His first goal was to pass the A1 test by learning only what was required for that exam. His second was to pass the A2 test by following the same process.
•Relevant. Donald wanted to learn French because his children were in French immersion classes, and he wanted to be able to talk to them in their new language.
•Time-bound. Finally, Donald chose dates to help maintain focus. His goals looked like this in the end: I will study the content for, and then pass, the A1 test by February 15, 2014; I will study the content for, and then pass, the A2 test by April 15, 2014.
Where is Donald now? Did his S.M.A.R.T. approach work? Well, he just got back from a trip to Paris, where he spoke like a local. After his success at French, he’s decided to learn Spanish because his wife speaks it.
Donald’s S.M.A.R.T. approach to setting goals can work for any resolution you may have. Do you want to lose weight? Make your goal S.M.A.R.T. and say, for example, “I want to lose one pound per week by not eating after dinner and running on the treadmill for 30 minutes a day.”
With a little extra work up front, you can make your 2015 New Year’s resolutions stick and be confident that you can achieve your goals for next year.