I have talked about SMART goals on my blog in the past, but I think it is a topic worth revisiting! SMART goals have gotten relatively popular in the past few years. You might’ve heard of SMART goals before, but they are:
You can see in the graphic below that sometimes different words are used, but it generally has the same meaning!
I love talking about goal-setting and intentions at different points of the year. There is a narrative that we set goals on January 1st and stick to them all year, but how limiting is that? It is always a good time to work toward a change you want to see in your life. Some 80% of new years resolutions fail. I don’t say this to deter anyone from their goals, but it is important to get real about what’s possible for you and when is a good time to start. Maybe January 1st isn’t a good time for you, but maybe today is a time when you feel ready, willing, and passionate about making a change. Changing behavior is hard work, whether you are trying to floss more, become more self-compassionate, or train for a triathlon, and timing is an important factor to consider.
I thought it might be helpful to share how I used the principles of SMART goals to set my own intentions and goals. I see intentions as larger ideas, hopes, or aspirations. One of my intentions is “Put more energy into healthy friendships.” This intention feels hard to measure and it’s difficult to know where to begin—that’s where SMART goals come in! So for each intention, I came up with 2-3 SMART goals. For the intention I shared above, my goals are 1) Call a good friend at least once a week 2) Reach out to an old friend once a month.
While the goals I listed above are SMART goals, using the SMART acronym as a guide rather than a rule is great. Make it work for you! For those of us who are results-driven, it can be very helpful to choose goals that are measurable. With measurable goals, you can look back at your progress and feel proud of your accomplishments and look back and see where you have room to improve.
I also want to highlight that it is important to practice self-compassion while working toward any kind of goal. Life hardly ever goes according to plan, so it is important to remain flexible and be gentle with yourself while pursuing change. Celebrate the little victories of making baby steps towards your goals and intentions!