“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”
—Confucius

Setting goals, S.M.A.R.T. Goals!

I never really understood the importance of setting goals, until I became a young adult. Being a child, you are used to things being taken care of for you by your parents; with some small responsibilities that you would have had to tend to on your own. But goal setting, REAL goal setting involves certain steps in order to ensure that those goals are met, or become close to being met.

Lets look at some of these steps, that anyone can use to aid them in setting smart goals, and achieving the success intended.

  1. Be Specific.
    In order to identify and achieve your goal, you must first be very clear and specific about the goal. Take the time to identify the steps that you think might be necessary to reach the goal. While doing that, also make a side note about any barriers, that could impede its success.

  2. Is it Measurable?
    What markers have you set up, in order for you to know when you have met your goal? How will your life be different, and will others be able to identify and see the changes you have made to reach your goal. In essence, to reach goals, things in your life will have to shift, priorities will change, mindset will change, activities and leisure will change. You and others should be able to see your goal fall right into place, when you have made changes to meet said goal.

  3. Is it Achievable?
    We all want the best for ourselves, and setting high expectations are not a bad thing, however, sometimes starting too high, may make it harder to reach. So, consider setting smaller goals, ones that will assist you in reaching your highest intended goal, but in baby steps. So e.g. If you want to quit smoking, great goal, YES, but, trying to quit cold turkey may be hard for some. Instead, try smoking less cigarettes per day, or finding activities that you can engage in, to occupy your time, get an accountability partner, who can help you through the difficult process of smoking cessation. Baby steps, it is ok, you don't have to be perfect, be gentle with yourself.

  4. Is the goal Realistic and are the Resources available?
    Is the goal realistic and are the resources available? Having limited or no access to resources, can make it quite difficult to attain a set goal. So, you have to ask yourself, is the goal I have achievable, based on my ability to access the needed resources to accomplish this goal? Look at the resources you have that can be used, and begin to make a list of additional resources you may need; call on friends, family and other colleagues, to network and gain more access to information, and finally, be prepared to list the identified barriers, and ways you can work around them or eliminate them.

  5. Timetable.
    When do you want to have this goal final, met, and accomplished? Have you set a deadline to meet this goal? Is it a reasonable deadline? For each small goal, leading to the bigger goal, set a time line.

Remember – You can do it! Take your time, ask for help, and go for it! What's the worst that can happen?

by Ava Griffiths
LCSW

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