A lot of people spend some time during the day dreaming of the life they love to have; their dream job; the spouse of their dreams; the house or car they always wanted to have; or that amazing place they wanted to go on vacation since they were kids. And then, they go back to their “normal life,” working their 9-5 job which they don’t enjoy doing, just so they can pay their bills; spending the days alone complaining how they will never meet the man/women of their life and how life is never fair to them.
If this is you, then I have great news about you.
YOU CAN get the job that you want. YOU CAN visit your dream vacation place. YOU CAN buy the car you always wanted to have. And YOU CAN find your prince charming. YOU CAN create the life that you love.
What you need to do is grab a piece of paper and pen, and write down what it is that you want to achieve in your life. By writing your goals you are more likely to accomplish them. A study done by Dr. Gail Matthews of Dominican University found that people who write their goals down are 42% more likely to achieve them.
Why setting goals?
I know that you might be a bit skeptic about this goal setting idea. I used to be too. Until one day I ran into the following story:
Imagine you want to go on vacation. But you don’t know where you want to go, nor how long you want to stay there. And let me ask you this: If you don’t know where are you going or how long you want to stay there, then how will you know what kind of clothes to bring with you? Which accessories to pack? How will you get there? And. what will you do once you arrive?
After I read this, it all made sense to me. My daydreaming of the life that I wanted to have was only that. Daydreaming. I had no clear direction of where I wanted to go, and hence I didn’t know what was it that I needed to do so that I can get there.
So, once I read this, I started doing my research on how to properly set goals. And consequently, how to figure out which actions I needed to take so I can accomplish this goal.
And as with many of you, I was using the framework of setting SMART goals. Then last year, when the book Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt, fell into my hands, it all changed. Learning about the SMARTER goals setting framework gave me more detailed and clearer way of setting my goals.
In Your Best Year Ever, Michael takes it a step further, and talks about setting SMARTER goals. He says that in order to get the most out of your written goals you need to formulate them in a way that you will check all of the boxes assigned for each letter of the acronym SMARTER. Now, let’s dive into what each letter represents.
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Actionable
R – Risky
T – Time-Keyed
E – Exciting
R – Relevant
Vague goals are not very inspirational and don’t give you a clear direction. Which is why you need to formulate your goal to be specific. Also, you need to identify what is it exactly that you want to achieve. Studies show that the more narrow and specific your goal is, the more likely you are to engage your focus, creativity, intellect and persistence.
Here I’ll share with you a personal example. When I started as a personal trainer all I wanted is to help people get in the best shape of their life and live healthier lifestyles. Wanting to help people was too broad. It didn’t gave me a clear direction. Once I became clear that I want to help women 20-50 years of age get in the best shape of their lives and be healthier by teaching them how to make better lifestyle choices, I got clearer direction of what I needed to do to accomplish that.
Measurable refers to incorporating criteria which will help you measure yourself against the goal and by which you will know when have you achieved the goal.
Here is an example from my personal training clients. Wanting to be strong or exercise more often doesn’t give you a sense of accomplishing the goal. How would you know that you are strong, or exercised more? But, stating that you want to squat 100lb or exercise 4 times a week is more measurable, and you have an end point to your goal. You will know when you’ve reached it.
Although setting goals is all about taking action, it is important that you clearly write the action of the goal you are focusing on. According to Hyatt, the best way to do it is to use a strong verb, and avoid using the verbs and their derivatives of Be, or Have. Instead of writing “Be more consistent in my meditation practice,”, it would be better to replace it with “Meditate 5 min each morning.” Or going back to exercising it can be “Exercise 3 times a week,” or “Walk 30min daily.”
This is where Michael expands the traditional SMART goal setting, and adds Risky in the framework. He says that if we set goals which are realistic, we are setting the bar very low, and won’t be as motivated in accomplishing the goal. The realistic goals we set are usually very small and easy to achieve, and we are more likely to slack off once we reach these small goals.
That is why he recommends setting goals which are risky, that stretch and challenge us. Something that will have us do activities which are in our Discomfort Zone, because that’s where we grow, expand and become better.
I’ll give you a personal example here. Before I started doing my inner work I didn’t like to be photographed, let alone being recorded. This was because I very often doubted myself and lacked confidence, and I didn’t liked how I look on the pictures. But as I started writing a blog and talking about my experiences I needed to give the person behind the writings a visual. So, I had a friend of mine take pictures of me and posted them in my blog posts and social media. No matter how uncomfortable was that for me at the beginning, I knew that I had to do it if I wanted to help other people.
It doesn’t need to be something radical. Even small steps like the one I did, will help you get closer to the person you want to become and create the life that you love.
The time-keyed attribute of the SPARTER framework refers to setting a deadline, frequency or time-trigger for your goal, so that you can add sense of urgency to it.
Setting deadlines is essential for achievement goals. Let’s take the example of my client who wanted to lose 30lb. Instead of formulating the goal like “Lose 30lb” set a deadline to it and write it like “Lose 30lb in 3months” or stating the exact day “Lose 30lb by September 1st.”
Frequency comes in handy when we are setting habitual goals. When you want to develop certain behavior into habit, setting a frequency and maintaining its streak will help you develop the habit easier. If that behavior is something new to you, like starting to meditate, adding a time-trigger will also be very helpful.
Let’s use the meditation as an example. You can write it like “Meditate 5 min every morning.” With a time-trigger you can formulate it like “Meditate 5min every day at 6 a.m.” or associate it something else you do on daily bases like “Meditate 5 min every day after brushing my teeth.”
E in the framework stands for Exciting. Setting goals which internally inspire you will help you continue when things get a little tough. Extrinsic motivation can come in handy to some extent, but internal motivation is what will keep you going when you feel like stopping.
As for me, my motivation is helping women through teaching them how to become the best version of themselves and creating the life they want so that they can be healthier, happier and more successful. Which is why I created the Awaken The Goddess Within Course.
The last attribute of the SMARTER goal framework is Relevant. It refers to setting goals which are important to yourself and aligned with your values and your own needs. Many times, we tend to do things because of the pressure we get from the society, our family and friends, or from work, and which are against our core beliefs and values. Which is why is important that we resist these temptations, and set goals which are aligned with our true, and authentic self, and also goals which align with each other.
Knowing the secret behind setting SMARTER goals will help you accomplish your goals much faster. It will also keep you going forward when things get messy in the middle. So stop wasting your time daydreaming and wishing for the life you want. Grab pen and paper, write your goals, design your action plan, and create the life that you love to live.