Smart Goals

Welcome to Week Seven of Nick James Blog. We hope you are having a great week and are ready for this week’s journey.

The feedback is in, and after last week’s lesson on dreams and goals, most of you fall into one of three categories.

1) Exhilarated! You’re chomping at the proverbial “bit” to receive Week Seven’s SMART exercises.

2) Still on the “treadmill.” You worked really hard to get your dream list done, but felt a time crunch and are still finishing it.

3) “Week Six’s lesson? I’m still working on Week Four or Week Five!”

Trust us, we understand. If you’re in the second or third group, don’t worry, we’ve got a plan. This week, you’ll receive Week Seven’s lesson, Goal-Setting Part Three—SMART Goals, as scheduled. Then, next week, we’ve scheduled a little breathing room for you and left the lesson open so that you can continue to work on your SMART goals or play a little catch-up. If the latter, take a deep breath, all is well.

We hope you have enjoyed working through the goal-setting process. Although others might not totally “see” your goals, understand your feelings and what you’re starting to believe, it is exciting when we can peer into the future and vividly see our new reality.

Have a great week!

Evaluation and Reflection
The only way we can reasonably decide what we want in the future and how we will get there is to first know where we are right now and what our level of satisfaction is for where we are in life. With our focus on goal-setting, our first order of business and topic from earlier was to set aside some serious time for evaluation and reflection.

Dreams and Goals
What are your dreams and goals? Not related to the past or what you think you can get, but what you want. Have you ever sat down and really thought through your life values and decided what you truly want? This isn’t something someone else says you should have or what culture tells us successful people do or have. These are dreams and goals born out of your own heart and mind, unique to you, and come from who you were created to be and gifted to become. Last week, we showed you exactly how to figure out what you want from life.

SMART Goals
SMART means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-sensitive.

Specific: Don’t be vague. Exactly what do you want?
Measurable: Quantify your goal. How will you know if you’ve achieved it or not?
Attainable: Be honest with yourself about what you can reasonably accomplish at this point in your life, while taking into consideration your current responsibilities.
Realistic: It’s got to be doable, real and practical.
Time: Associate a time frame with each goal. When should you complete the goal?

This week, we look at how to apply the SMART test to your goals and ensure they are powerful!

Accountability
Think of the word accountable. It means to give an account. When someone knows what your goals are, they help hold you accountable. Whether it is someone else going through this program with you (have you thought about inviting a friend to join you on this one-year journey?) or just someone you can give the basic idea to, having a person who can hold you accountable will give you another added boost to accomplishing your goals! Next, we will show you how to set up an accountability partner.

Now, let’s get into SMART Goals.

I really like the acronym SMART because we want to be smart when we set our goals. We want to intelligently decide what our goals will be so that we can actually accomplish them. We want to set the goals that our heart conceives, that our mind believes and that our bodies will carry out. Let’s take a closer look at each of the components of SMART goals:

Specific: Goals are no place to waffle. They are no place to be vague. Ambiguous goals produce ambiguous results. Incomplete goals produce incomplete futures. When we are specific, we harness the power of our dreams and set forces into action that empower us to achieve our goals. We then know exactly what it is we are shooting for—there is no question. As we establish our priorities and manage our time, we do it for a specific goal to achieve the results we expect. There is no wondering or guessing. The future is locked into our minds, and we see it—specifically—and that is powerful! Never underestimate just how important it is to have very specific, concrete goals. They act as magnets that draw you toward them! A SMART goal is specific.

Measurable: Always set goals that are measurable. I would say “specifically measurable” to take into account our principle of being specific as well. Our goals should be such that we know when we are advancing and by how much. Whether it is by hours, pounds, dollars or some other scale, we should be able to see exactly how we are measuring up as we journey through life using our goals. Imagine if you didn’t measure your goals! You would never know which way you were going, or even if you were going anywhere! A SMART goal is measurable.

Attainable: One of the detrimental things many people do—and they do it with good intentions—is to set goals that are unattainable. While it’s very important to set big goals that cause your heart to soar with excitement, it is also imperative to make sure they are attainable. In the next section, we will talk about being realistic. So what does it mean to be attainable? An attainable goal is one that is both realistic and doable in a shorter period of time than what you have to work with. Now, when I say “attainable,” I don’t mean easy. Our goals should be set so that they are just out of our reach, so that they challenge us to grow as we reach forward to achieve them. In a minute, I will give you an example of a goal that’s both attainable and realistic. A SMART goal is attainable.

Realistic: The root word of realistic is real. A goal has to be something that we can reasonably make “real” or a “reality” in our lives. There are some goals that are simply not realistic. You have to be able to say, even if it is a tremendously stretching goal, that it is entirely realistic—that you could make it. You may have to say that it will take X, Y and Z to do it, but if those happen, then it can be done. I’m in no way saying it shouldn’t be a big goal, but it must be realistic. This is, to a great degree, up to the individual. For one person, a goal may be realistic, but for another, unrealistic. I would encourage you to be very honest with yourself as you do your planning and evaluation. It might be good to get a friend to help you, as long as that friend is by nature an optimist and not a pessimist. This can go a long way toward helping you know what is realistic. A SMART goal is realistic.

Knowing that perhaps you could use a bit of help differentiating between attainable and realistic, here is an example: Let’s say you are overweight and need to lose 150 pounds to get to your ideal weight. Is that goal attainable? Yes, considering you also make it realistic. For example, it isn’t realistic to think you can do it in five months. Eighteen to 24 months would be realistic (with hard work). Thus, losing 150 pounds in two years is both attainable and realistic, while losing 150 pounds in five months is neither attainable nor realistic.

Time: Every goal should have a time frame attached to it. Life is much more productive for us as humans because there is a time frame connected to it. Could you imagine how much more procrastination would happen if people never died? We’d just never get “around to it.” We could always put it off. One of the powerful aspects of a great goal is that it has an end, a time in which you are shooting to accomplish it. You start working because you know there is an end, and as time goes by, you work because you don’t want to get behind. As the deadline approaches, you work diligently because you want to meet that deadline. It’s a good idea to break a big goal down into measured time frames. Set smaller goals and work them out in their own time. A SMART goal has a timeline.

Be sure to spend some reflection time this week making sure your goals fit the SMART parameters. Go through the reflection questions and the action points in your workbook. Doing so will power-charge them and help you accomplish your dreams.

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

Nick James

Be sure to download this week’s workbook pages to complete the Questions for Reflection and Action Points exercises. View

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