SMART method simply explained
Whether you’re looking for more exercise, a healthier diet, or the new book we finally wanted to start with, with the SMART method, you’ll master almost any of your goals. I’ll show you how it works with examples.
The issue of goal achievement is always painfully observable. Many of our original goals were squeezed faster than we launched them.
For example, we all know very well the New Year’s resolutions of our fellow human beings, which were propagated loudly at the end of the year, and which are usually forgotten a few days or weeks later. It’s not for nothing that 60% of gym members are passive members. Make a contract, do a workout 3-4 times and never come back. For the owners a princely business: the membership fees flow, without that it comes to a consideration.
Of course this has something to do with self-discipline, but often the reasons are that we’re not achieving our goals, but rather that we haven’t planned them enough.
With the so-called SMART method, which can be applied to almost all goals, your projects can be planned effectively and implemented much easier. In 5 simple steps, which you can remember by the word “smart”, you will be able to achieve real goals in the future:
1.) Specific goals
One of the most common mistakes made by people setting goals is that they don’t define exactly what is actually to be achieved.
Examples of undefined goals:
✘ “A nicer body is my goal.”
✘ “I want to live healthier.”
✘ “I want to be able to afford more.”
Without question, the goals just mentioned are all praiseworthy and you’re allowed to reach them. But by not really telling you how you want to achieve that goal, it’s going to be hard for you to start.
Specifically defined goals:
✔ “Losing weight is my goal.”
✔ “I want to smoke less.”
✔ “I want to earn more money.”
You see, your goals have changed very little, but now you have a direction to go.
2.) Measurable Goals
The second point of smart method is that your goals, if you want to reach them, must also be measurable. If you set yourself goals that can not be verified at all, it will be difficult to motivate you in the long term.
Examples of non-measurable goals:
✘ “I want to lose weight.”
✘ “Smoking less would be great.”
✘ “I want to earn more money.”
Again, all goes well and well, but what does “smoking less” mean, for example? Your goal is clear, but your wording leaves many options for interpretation. In this way, you would have already achieved it if you only smoke one cigarette a week less.
✔ “I would like to lose 5kg.”
✔ “I only want to smoke half as much.”
✔ “My goal is to earn 50% more than current.”
Looks better, right? Now you’ve clear goals that can be verified not only for you, but also for every outsider.
3.) Attractive goals
Next, when setting goals, make sure that you really want to achieve them yourself, so it’s attractive to you and also recognized. For example, the following goals may be completely unattractive to you if they do not match your nature:
Examples of unattractive goals:
✘ “I won’t touch alcohol anymore.”
✘ “I never eat sweets anymore.”
✘ “I’ll do sport daily now.”
If you can do that, respect! But normally this won’t work and won’t be fun for very few people. So make sure that the goal remains attractive for you:
✔ “I don’t drink alcohol during the week.”
✔ “I don’t eat sweets in the office anymore.”
✔ “From now on doing 2-3x a week sport.”
How important it is to define attractive goals, you know from the whole diet programs, which are rehashed over and over again: Having to do without something for 2 weeks or 1 month isn’t very attractive. And so it often comes afterwards directly to a weight gain, because we had so little fun that we want to reward now once (without diet).
4.) Realistic goals
When we think about something, our ambitions are often so great that we think we can rip trees out. Unfortunately, in this phase we often set targets that are far too high that we can hardly achieve:
Examples of unrealistic goals:
✘ “I currently smoke 1 box of cigarettes a day, from now I stop completely.”
✘ “I haven’t done any sports since school, but from now on I walk for an hour every day.”
Sure, there are (few) exceptional cases that could really go through that, but for most people, those goals would be much too high. Stay realistic so that you don’t fail after only two days with your project.:
✔ “I will only smoke 2/3 or half a pack of cigarettes from January 1st.”
✔ “From now on I walk twice a week for as long as I keep up.”
Sounds more reasonable, right? The advantage here is that you do not have to change everything from now on, but you can slowly approach your goal and continue to increase it.
5.) Terminated goals
Another common mistake in setting goals is simply not setting a precise time until when the goal is supposed to be achieved.
Examples of non-term goals:
✘ “I will lose 5 pounds.”
✘ “I will read 10 books.”
Perfect, nice! So theoretically you also have 20 years for the 5 kilos or the 10 books, after all you didn’t say until when you wanted to do it. Of course, such goals make little sense, so you should set clear times.
✔ “I will lose 5 pounds in 8 weeks.”
✔ “I will read 10 books this year.”
Sounds much better right? Now you know how much time you have to reach your goal and you can work with it accordingly.
That’s it. So you know the 5 elementary components of a real goal. So if you set goals in the future, try using this method. You will see that this will make it much easier to reach your goals afterwards.
See also: “How to achieve your goals“
In a nutshell
Often we set ourselves goals that we won’t achieve – for reasons unknown to us. The problem here, however, is usually not in a lack of self-discipline, but often in the fact that we have run off aimlessly.
With the SMART method, which is also used in project management, goals can be easy and quickly defined precisely. Referring to the initials of SMART, your goals must be
to reach them. Try it!