Setting a Goal
Defining a goal should always be the first step. Whether the goal is to finish a race, run 5km continuously, or even getting a job, using S.M.A.R.T. goals is a key factor to success. S.M.A.R.T goals stands for Specific, Measurable, Achi
What specifically do you want to achieve? The clearer and more well-defined your goal is, the greater the rate of success. Consider the five “W” questions:
- Who is involved in this goal?
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Where is this goal to be achieved?
- When do I want to achieve this goal?
- Why do I want to achieve this goal?
For example, a general goal would be “I want to run faster.” Being specific would be “I want to run my local parkrun from start to finish and to do so in a time of 30mins.”
Your goal needs criteria, otherwise you cannot determine your progress. Questions to help make your goal measurable:
- How far/much?
- How do I know if I have reached my goal?
- Are there progress steps to track?
For example, building on the specific goal above: I will take part in parkrun each week and jog/run 2 more times each week. I will aim to improve my parkrun time each month until I reach my goal.
Your goal should be challenging but still attainable. Don’t set your sights too low, but be realistic about what you can do to achieve your goals with the resources you have. Ask yourself:
- What support will I need to achieve my goal?
- Have others done it successfully before?
For example: A beginner runner cannot run under 15mins for 5km within a year. But running 30mins for 5km is something that many have done previously and is very achievable.
A goal should be relevant to you, the progress you want to make, and your life priorities. Ask yourself:
- Is the goal realistic and within your grasp?
- Can I do this goal given the time frame and resources?
- Will I commit to accomplishing the goal?
This builds on top of the achievable part of the goal, helping to define a relevant goal you can achieve.
The goal must be time-bound with a start and finish date. This is important to avoid procrastination and motivated you to work towards the goal. Ask yourself:
- When will I start working towards my goal?
- Do I need to complete my goal by a certain deadline?
- Is there a date that I want to finish my goal by?
For example, building on the goal above: I’ll start on Jan 1, 2020 to start running regularly. I will work towards my 30min goal each week to achieve the goal before the end of 2020. I’ll track my progress each month.
Benefits of Setting a SMART Goal
Taking the time to go through the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting process and writing your goal down is very worthwhile. It helps to add structure to your goals and to focus your energy towards progressing towards accomplishing the goal. Like having a coach, this method gives an orientation to progress towards your goal. This is both motivating and increases the success rate of achieving your goal.