Stop Wishing and Start Doing: A Custom Guide to Setting SMART Personal Goals 

 December 12, 2018

By  Craig Beck

What are your personal goals?

New Year’s is right around the corner, a time when many people like to make resolutions? You may want to rededicate yourself to reaching your personal goals, whether they are professional, romantic, health-related or spiritual.

Maybe you have tried this routine year after year, but never seem to attain those objectives. Maybe your motivation peters out after a few months as you get caught up in the daily grind. How can you do it differently this time?

Now is the time to develop SMART goals in a way that will keep you on track towards personal success. By following these recommendations, you will be on your way towards not only resolving to change your life for the better but actually doing it.

1. Be Specific

The first rule of SMART goal setting is to be specific. Instead of vowing to be a big success, think of what determines success for you.

For example, instead of deciding you want to “climb the corporate ladder,” aim to be promoted to assistant director of your company in the next five years.  Instead of just “losing weight,” give yourself a target weight to aspire to.

The more you can keep the clear goal in your mind, the better able you will be to keep your eye on the ball and stay committed.

how to find your purpose
How to find your purpose

2. Take Action

Goals need to be more than vague promises to be a better person. If you aren’t specific in articulating what you want to aspire to, your approach towards reaching these goals will get looser and less targeted.

By being specific, you can then accurately lay out a plan of attack that is likely to be effective. If you want to lose 25 pounds, you can take the actions of going on a diet and joining a gym. If you want to spend more time with your family, book a vacation or sign up for ski lessons together.

As one famous company puts it: just do it.

3. Be Realistic

Another reason that many people lose sight of their goals is that they are unrealistic. If you set yourself a goal that is impossible to attain, you may be tempted to just give up.  You certainly will never be satisfied if your chosen goal is beyond your reach.

Being realistic requires that you be honest with yourself. Really, is it likely you can actually earn five million dollars this year? Maybe a ten percent increase in your income is more attainable.

Set yourself up to win, and you will!

Positivity Is A Choice
Positivity Is A Choice

4. Think About Others

Surprising as it may sound, setting personal goals is not a purely self-focused exercise. No one exists in a vacuum, so in order to set achievable objectives, you have to consider the wider effects on everyone else.

If you want to move to Hawaii,  consider how such a change will impact the rest of your family. If it is something they all want as much as you do, that can be especially motivating! On the other hand, if you want to exceed your plant’s estimated production at the cost of your employees’ health and safety, that approach may be less beneficial to the company than you think.

Often, when we consider goals in light of their positive impact on others, the results when we achieve those goals become much more satisfying.

5. Determine Measurements and Milestones

The “M” in SMART stands for measurable. By giving yourself a way to measure success, you will know when you are on the right track, close to your end game,  or off-course.

If you want to get a new job, strive for getting three interviews in the next two months. If you want to improve your career prospects, look into certifications or courses you can take to improve your qualifications.

Reward yourself as you reach milestones along the way. If you want to run a marathon, have a party when you run your first 5K! Progress is something to celebrate.

6. Include Goals Beyond the Material

Most people find that attaining only material success is not as satisfying as they thought it would be. Money does not buy happiness, and a big house or a fancy car will not surround you with loving relationships as a matter of course.

If you incorporate the spiritual element into your gals, you will have a deeper motivation for attaining them and a deeper joy when you reach them. For example, if you want to earn more money so that you can pay your kids’ college tuitions or alleviate your wife’s financial worries, that is a higher purpose than just striving for money for money’s sake.

don't be a victim
Don’t be a victim

7. Acknowledge Your Shortcomings

In order to reach your highest potential, you must acknowledge both your strengths and weaknesses. Unless you understand where you need to better yourself, you will never be able to truly reach your goals.

If you are terrible at financial projections, you need to admit that in order to find out how you can improve. By taking a course or hiring someone to handle this task on your behalf, you acknowledge you cannot do it all by yourself and pave the way for getting it done effectively.

8. Give Service

Another way to set and meet personal goals with meaning is to make sure your goals include giving service to others.

While it may be fulfilling to complete a triathlon, it is even more meaningful when doing it helps to raise funds to fight cancer. While you may be thrilled to win a seat in your city council, you will be even more excited when you use your position to effectuate positive changes in your community.

9. Set a Target Date

It’s hard to reach for a target which is too far away.  By vowing to meet your goal within a set time frame, you light a fire under yourself to get going.

Don’t let months may go by without any significant actions on your part to achieve your goal. Write down the target date on a calendar or give yourself electronic reminders when the date is approaching, so you don’t slack off.

Living with zero limits
Living with zero limits

10. Be Flexible

These are personal goals, so you have to be kind to yourself. Don’t punish yourself or give you because you may not meet all of your objectives in the time frame allotted.  The trying is what is important.

The simple act of pursuing goals often leads to satisfaction and a better clarity on what is truly meaningful in your life. Ultimately, the journey is more fulfilling than the destination.

Personal Goals Keep You Focused on What Matters

Determining goals and tactics with which to reach them is a helpful roadmap to use in business and life.

Remember,  there are always bumps and detours along the way. The key is to stay focused, think of others, and remember why you are on this road. The mere act of articulating personal goals and remembering to pursue them is a healthy and positive way to keep an eye on the prize.

For more on how best to formulate and reach your SMART goals, check out my blog.

If you are ready to take your life to the next level click here to grab your place on my next free ‘Full Potential’ webinar.

Craig Beck

Craig Beck ([email protected]) is the author of several bestselling personal development books and audiobooks. 

Including Unleashed: How to love yourself more and unlock your full potential, available on Amazon, Audible and in all good bookstores.  

Craig is also a certified master practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming, hypnotherapy, timeline therapy and a highly in-demand international motivational speaker.

Craig Beck