In 1954, Peter Drucker developed a smarter way to achieve goals. In his book “The Practice of Management,” he explains that SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
Specific Goals are detailed. Instead of having goals like “I will lose weight,” or “I will write a book,” your goals are more concrete. “I will wake up 30 minutes earlier to exercise every day,” or “I will publish my book by writing every day.”
Measurable Goals are quantifiable. Once you have chosen your specific goals, you must find a way to measure your progress. It may be as simple as hopping on a scale once a week or may require you to write a certain number of words each day.
Achievable Goals allow you to babystep your way to progress. You can set a distant goal of losing 30 pounds or graduating from college, but absolutes or grandiose goals are very difficult to work toward. Instead, set small goals that lead you toward your overall goals. Set a goal to lose two pounds per week, or to write 5000 words per day.
Realistic Goals are goals that keep you motivated to move forward. A goal like “I will never eat ice cream again” is doomed to fail. Instead, set attainable goals, like “Instead of drinking two beers at the party, I will sip one glass of red wine.”
Timely Goals hold you accountable. “Someday” is not a goal-oriented word. “I will throw out all of the foods in my cupboard that contain trans fat or high fructose corn syrup by Friday” is a concrete goal you can achieve. By giving yourself a deadline, you put a little pressure on yourself to do what you need to do.
Instead of setting New Years Resolutions or even waiting for January, why not start now and create SMART goals you can start accomplishing now!